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Terrifying CT Report Is False Alarm; But Then …

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You’re not going to believe this one.

According to a lawsuit in Lenawee County Circuit Court in Adrian, Michigan, here’s what happened, as chronicled by the Daily Telegram newspaper of Adrian:

On September 25, 2006, Jacqueline Tabbert of Adrian received an urgent call from her family physician, Laurie Barkway, DO, of Tecumseh, Michigan. A set of CT scans showed that Tabbert had an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Tabbert needed to rush to Herrick Medical Center in Tecumseh for treatment.

Tabbert did so—in a state of panic. An abdominal aortic aneurysm can be life-threatening. (I know this very personally; an AAA killed my father.) From Herrick, Tabbert was transferred to The Toledo Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, for surgery …

Which was canceled. Toledo did a second CT scan that showed no such condition.

Three weeks later, Dr. Barkway received a corrected report regarding the original CT scan. The corrected report said Tabbert actually was suffering from fibroids and uterine swelling. Dr. Barkway again called Tabbert and ordered an immediate biopsy.

The biopsy showed that the “corrected” report was also incorrect. Tabbert suffered from neither AAA nor fibroids.

In the lawsuit, Tabbert’s attorney, Courtney Morgan, said:

The administrative and clerical function of ensuring that the test results match the patient did not occur for this patient.

You think?

Dr. Barkway’s attorney contended that the doctor had acted responsibly given the information that she was provided.

The jury decided that Dr. Barkway had been negligent. It awarded Tabbert $75,000 for the expenses of the unnecessary procedures, plus emotional distress, pain, and suffering.

The lawsuit also named ProMedica Health System, Herrick Medical Center (part of ProMedica), and radiologist Sean Thiesen, MD. Those defendants reached an undisclosed settlement shortly before the trial began and were dismissed from the suit. The Toledo Hospital, also part of ProMedica, was not named in the suit.

Mistakes can happen. But good grief. That poor woman.

Related seminar: CT/MRI of the Abdomen and Pelvis


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