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.
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.
The single accident that really galvanized the very existence of the MRI safety movement was an accident that occurred in 2001 at Westchester Medical Center in New York State. In that tragedy, a steel oxygen cylinder was brought into the MRI room while Michael Colombini, a six-year old boy, was receiving a post-operative MRI to confirm they doctors had successfully removed his brain tumor.
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