First, let me say that this isn’t a ‘leak’ in the sense that none of the information I’m about to share is (any longer) confidential. This information is all public record as a result of court filings for the now-settled civil suit surrounding the 2001 MRI fatality of Michael Colombini. There are documents associated with that civil lawsuit which did not wind up as filings with the court and therefore are not a part of the public record. I have no difficulty not releasing those because (among other reasons) I don’t have any of them.
“Why — now — ten years later would you post these documents?”
Excellent question! Here’s why I didn’t publish these long ago…
This week the settlement documents were released — closing the chapter on the lawsuit that arose from the seminal event in MRI safety, the 2001 oxygen tank fatality of then-six-year-old Michael Colombini.
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.
Yes, I think I’ve written at least twice before about the imminent start of the trial for the civil lawsuit stemming from the Michael Colombini fatal MRI accident in 2001. And, yes, I was wrong both times before. So, I would expect nothing less than readers of this entry to take my 3rd prognostication of the start of the trial with something more than a grain of salt… perhaps an entire salt lick! But today a little birdie told me that there’s a hole in the otherwise-booked New York Supreme Court trial schedule for late October / early November and the Colombini trial may just fit right in there.
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.
As if you needed a personal invitation from me, here it is nonetheless. Please join me (and a several thousand of your colleagues) at the American Hot Rod Association [ahem] American Healthcare Radiology Administrators annual meeting in August. And though it may not really be my place to invite you to the conference, I do want to extend to you a personal invitation to 2½ special events that will happen during that week.
Nearly all MRI accidents that wind up the subject of civil lawsuits conclude the same way… in confidential settlement protected by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This makes it extremely difficult to get to the facts associated with any particular accident. Currently the highest profile MRI accident (the death of a young boy from a flying oxygen cylinder) is in pre-trial litigation and is our best window into the legal responsibility of Technologists and providers. Today, however, I learned of another suit in which a Tech is suing her former employer for willfully putting off needed system repairs that compromised image quality and diagnostic value.