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Lawsuit: MRI Magnet Caused Man’s Fall, Death

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A tragic death that may—or may not—have been related to an MRI accident is being replayed in court this week, four and a half years after the incident.

On July 15, 2009, 79-year-old Daniel Mahony stepped into the MRI room at Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology  in Medford, New York (on Long Island). The magnet pulled his metal walker away from him, and he fell and hit his head. Two days later, he suffered a stroke. Two months after that, he died.

Both sides in the resulting lawsuit concede that much. But they agree on little else, according to Edmond Chakmakian, the attorney representing the Mahony family:

Everything is being disputed—liability and the causal relationship between the fall and the resultant stroke and death.

Chakmakian was quoted by DOTmed News. The case finally came to trial this week in Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court in Riverhead, New York.

In the lawsuit, Mahony’s son claims negligence and medical malpractice. Expert witnesses have presented differing testimony about whether the fall caused Mahony’s stroke. At one point, the judge ruled that it did not. He later changed his mind.

“The court ruled that it was a question of fact as to whether or not the stroke was related to the patient’s fall,” Chakmakian said. “It’s for a jury to decide.”

The other main point of contention involves what exactly happened just before the fall. Mahony’s son, who escorted his father to the imaging center, said the two were not asked to wait before entering the MRI room and were not told the walker would be a problem.

But the MRI technician on duty at the time testified that she did ask the Mahonys to wait while she went into the room and prepared it for the scan. She also said she asked Mahony if he had a hearing aid or anything else with metal.

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