That’s right. Yesterday, October 26th, the Colombini family formally accepted a settlement offer for the MRI vs. oxygen tank accident which killed their 6-year-old son in 2001. The settlement puts to rest 8 years of litigation resulting from the single largest MRI safety incident in the industry’s consciousness. And though precedent-setting verdicts won’t result, the dollar-value of the settlement will likely cause many MRI providers to sit up and take notice.
Last month, the judge in the Michael Colombini lawsuit (the case resulting from the infamous death by oxygen tank / cylinder brought into the MRI room while the boy was in the scanner) decided on three of the last outstanding pre-trial motions. The Judge’s decisions appear to have excused one defendant, entirely, and tempered the degree of potential liability for others.
Last year, the United States Supreme Court decided that medical device manufacturers that had gone through the trial-by-fire of a FDA pre-market review are immune from civil action in the state courts for product liability (Riegel v. Medtronic). Just a few weeks ago, the Court threw what many considered to be a major curve-ball when they decided that comparable protections do NOT apply to pharmaceutical manufacturers (Levine v. Wyeth). What does this suggest to MRI providers (Technologists, Radiologists and Administrators)?