Radiology Technician’s Positioning of Patient Leads to Paralysis

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on January 5, 2018

Radiology technicianThis case involves a sixty-three-year-old patient that had a CT performed after an episode of syncope. The hospital staff admitted the patient overnight for observation purposes, as they were unable to rule out the possibility of a pulmonary embolism. The CT scan on the PACS digital system of the hospital showed severe spinal stenosis, which warranted a further imaging workup. The nuclear medicine technician performed a CT angiogram and a CT of the head the following day, but soon after, the patient sustained significant complications. During the procedure, the patient claimed that he was pulled and told to lift his hands over his head in an unnatural position for an extended period of time. According to the medical notes, the patient came out of CT in a paralyzed state and was subsequently considered to be a non-complete quadriplegic.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the GE device listed above and are the injuries sustained by the patient within the standard of care?

Expert Witness Response E-006277

I am very familiar with both the GE VCT 64-slice CT scanner and the PACS imaging system as I use them in my home hospital on a daily basis. Generally speaking, the radiology tech should know about a patient’s preexisting illness such as the severe stenosis shown on images in the hospital’s internal EHR system. Once knowing the prior medical status of such a fragile patient, it is the duty of the technician to not place the patient in any compromising positions for extended periods of time. I believe this tech was egregious in the care given and paralysis could have been prevented without a doubt.

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