Lost film may cost millions for Dallas medical center

March 1, 1999

Lost film may cost millions for Dallas medical centerPACS technology is undoubtedly an expensive healthcare information technology investment. But healthcare institutions might be wise to consider the legal risks associated with lost imaging

Lost film may cost millions for Dallas medical center

PACS technology is undoubtedly an expensive healthcare information technology investment. But healthcare institutions might be wise to consider the legal risks associated with lost imaging data before electing to postpone purchases.

A Dallas County jury awarded $67.5 million in a lawsuit against Children's Medical Center in Dallas to the family of a 10-year-old girl whose leg was amputated after MRI results were misplaced for more than a day, according to an article in The Dallas Morning News. The award included $50 million for punitive damages. A spokeswoman for the medical center said it continues to believe it acted appropriately and that attorneys representing the hospital will appeal the decision.

The girl suffered internal injuries in May 1993, when her family's burro used its teeth to pick her up by the abdomen. After surgery at another hospital, she received an MRI at Children's. The test results were misplaced for more than a day, according to the article. Her attorneys argued that had doctors seen the results earlier, they would have discovered a blood clot that had formed in the girl's aorta. Her attorneys said surgery could have saved her leg if the clot had been caught within 24 hours of the MRI.

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