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$5.3 Million Settlement Ends MRI-Related Suit

September 1, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Diagnostic Imaging, Emergency Radiology, Neuroradiology
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A $5.3 million medical malpractice settlement was reached last week in a case that involved a patient with strokelike symptoms and a dispute over whether MRI results were read.

Michael T. Mertz, an attorney for the patient’s family, said the settlement would be paid on behalf of radiologist Mark Kelly, MD, and his practice, Winfield Radiology Consultants in Winfield, Illinois; neurologist Henry Echiverri, MD, and his practice, NeuroMed Clinic in Warrenville, Illinois; and Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield. The case had been set for trial October 25 in DuPage County Circuit Court.

On December 10, 2006, 24-year-old Samantha Medina of Carol Stream, Illinois, in suburban Chicago, presented at nearby Central DuPage Hospital. She had a headache, slurred speech, double vision, nausea, and numbness on her right side. She lost consciousness the next day and died on December 27. She left a young son, now 6, and a husband, Chris.

Chris Medina filed suit. The lawsuit said that Samantha had a congenital clotting condition that resulted in slowed blood flow to her brain. Attorney Michael T. Mertz, who represented Chris Medina, said that an MRI on December 10 revealed the problem, but that Samantha did not receive proper treatment.

According to Mertz, Dr. Kelly said in pretrial depositions that he never read the MRI results because of miscommunication among staff. However, the attorney said, a review of Dr. Kelly’s computer use proved otherwise.

“Samantha went to the right hospital at the right time, was seen by the right specialists, and had the right tests performed,” Mertz said, according to the Daily Herald newspaper of Arlington Heights, Illinois. “If anybody had been paying attention to the MRI results, she still would be alive today.”

An attorney representing Dr. Kelly declined to comment. According to the Chicago Tribune, Dr. Echiverri’s attorney, Rodney E. VanAusdal, said, “All of Dr. Echiverri’s care was completely appropriate. In this climate, sometimes doctors are forced to compromise and settle to avoid even the small risk of a runaway jury verdict.”

Representatives from Central DuPage Hospital told the Lombard Spectator newspaper they were “deeply sorry for the family’s loss, but are unable to comment further regarding this matter.”

Related seminar: Diagnostic Imaging Review: For Residents, Fellows, and Radiologists

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