$28.5 Million

Settlement for Missed Pediatric Brain Tumor

The Case: In 2015, our client was a bright student athlete who had begun experiencing shooting pains in the back of his skull, along with bouts of balance deficits, fatigue, and dizziness. He underwent an MRI at a Medquest imaging facility in Florence, South Carolina, where the radiologist indicated no abnormalities in his report. But by 2018, the pain was intolerable. He returned for an additional MRI, which identified a tumor in his brain. Our client underwent a tumor resection surgery, but due to the size of the tumor, removal without impacting certain blood vessels was unlikely. He suffered a stroke that caused debilitating injuries. Today, years after completing radiation and chemotherapy, he suffers from severe nausea, vision deficits, speech deficits, and difficulty ambulating independently.

The Outcome: As our team investigated this case, we learned that this was not the first time the radiologist had clearly missed a critical finding in a patient. As we dug deeper, we realized this case contained more than traditional claims of medical malpractice. It also contained claims of direct corporate negligence against Medquest and its affiliated companies for the failure to properly and appropriately manage, operate, and oversee the delivery of diagnostic imaging and radiological services. A monitoring system pushed radiologists to turn around images within a mandatory time frame, but there was no system to ensure a sufficient amount of time was spent on the actual review of the images. By obtaining audit trail data in litigation, we were able to determine that the radiologist read the entire brain imaging study, consisting of 251 images, in just 60 seconds.

In addition to the $28.5 million payment, this settlement significantly includes critical corporate changes to help eliminate this type of error in the future. Medquest agreed to mandate a second reading of all pediatric MRIs and CT scans; of head, neck, and spine MRIs for all patients; and of a handful of other high-risk patient scans. The company will also increase quality control policies to enhance patient safety and reduce reading errors at all levels.

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