Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Cedars-Sinai Over CT Radiation Overdose
"Patients and families should continue to have confidence in their doctor's recommendation for a CT scan."
According to Rees' lawsuit, he underwent a perfusion CT imaging procedure at the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center on Dec. 22, 2008 in order to diagnose and evaluate a suspected stroke.
Two days later, he was informed that there had been a technical problem with the scan and a second one was needed, according to the lawsuit.
"In the days and weeks immediately following the two CT scans at CSMC, plaintiff experienced significant hair and eyebrow loss, flaking of the scalp and facial skin, skin reddening or burns on his scalp and various other indications of excessive radiation exposure."
Nine months later, in late September, Rees says he was contacted by CSMC personnel to inquire about his CT scan experience and was questioned about whether he had experienced side-effects, but was not told why.
"Plaintiff was not advised of any radiation overexposure or other problem regarding the CT scans he had received, nor was he provided any further information by CSMC," the lawsuit claims.
In his statement, Rees said, "I certainly don't relish the chance of dying of tumors. I'm supposed to live stress free and this hasn't helped matters." A spokeswoman for his attorney said Rees is 65.
The lawsuit asks for general damages, past and future economic damages including cost of medical care, monitoring and treatment, loss of earnings, and for lawsuit costs and attorneys' fees.
Cedars-Sinai officials did not return requests for comment on the lawsuit. But last week hospital president and CEO Tom Priselac released a statement recommending to the FDA that CT scanner manufacturers make four adjustments, such as adjusting the settings of the "auto" function, to prevent such errors from occurring.
"We present this information not to shift responsibility, but to maximize patient safety by involving manufacturers in the process of continually improving processes and equipment," Priselac wrote.
Meanwhile throughout the Web, law firm advertisements are beginning to proliferate. One recent ad advised: "Did you get a radiation overdose at Cedars-Sinai MC? Free consultation."
A Cedars-Sinai spokeswoman declined comment.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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