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Outpatient imaging facilities, like Gateway, must be prepared for anaphylactic reactions to CT contrast media Contact Now

Medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit: Routine CT scan with contrast ends in death at Gateway Diagnostic Imaging, LLC d/b/a Gateway Diagnostic Mid-Cities

Outpatient imaging facilities, like Gateway, must be prepared for anaphylactic reactions to CT contrast media

Painter Law Firm filed a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit yesterday against Gateway Diagnostic Imaging, LLC d/b/a Gateway Diagnostic Mid-Cities and three physicians arising from the death of a healthy 52-year-old man following a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis for suspected kidney stones.

The case is pending in the 101st District Court of Dallas County, Texas, where the presiding judge is The Hon. Staci Williams. You can read the original petition here.

Gateway Diagnostic Mid-Cities is a freestanding ambulatory diagnostic imaging center located at 9155 Grapevine Highway, Suite 210, North Richland Hills, TX 76180.

The patient was scheduled to have the CT scan at Gateway on May 28, 2019, at 9:15 a.m. A radiology technician started an intravenous (IV) line with Isovue 370, an iodine-containing CT contrast media. It is well known in radiology and medicine that some patients experience severe reactions to iodine, including CT contrast media.

That’s why the standard of care requires radiology centers, like Gateway, to be ready to handle potential life-threatening emergencies, like the anaphylactic reaction this patient experienced that ultimately took his life. Ambulatory diagnostic imaging centers must have at least one well-trained physician on site at all times, as well as an appropriately-stocked crash cart with emergency supplies and medications like oxygen and epinephrine.

Surprisingly, the Gateway medical records make no reference whatsoever to the fact that this patient had an anaphylactic reaction, crashed, and experienced a heart attack on-site, or even that 911 was called. As part of our careful investigation into this case, we obtained the emergency medical service (EMS) records, which provided some helpful insight about what happened.

First, the records reflect that the radiology technician continued with the CT scan, despite the fact that the patient was having difficulty breathing and foam was coming from his mouth. The radiology technician gives the patient the contrast media before the CT scan, which the images reflect was done at 9:15 a.m. According to EMS records, as soon as the patient received the contrast media, he had an anaphylactic reaction.

Second, the radiology technician didn’t notify the physician or call 911 immediately. According to the EMS records, the 911 call was made at 9:32 a.m.

Third, once EMS arrived on site, the records reflect no evidence that any resuscitation efforts were underway. EMS quickly removed the patient to the ambulance, where they found that he had life-threatening cardiac issues including pulseless electrical activity (PEA) and ventricular fibrillation. The EMS crew noted in their record that he had already experienced a heart attack while at Gateway.

Tragically, though, the first time anyone gave this patient, who was in clear anaphylactic shock, epinephrine was after the EMS crew arrived. This is incredible, given that virtually every parent who has a child allergic to bee stings carries around an EpiPen and knows what to do in an emergency.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and reported that—no surprise—this patient died of anaphylaxis triggered by CT contrast media administration.

Although the suit has just been filed, we believe that Gateway was unprepared to handle an emergency of this nature and that both Gateway and the physicians involved violated the standard of care. If they had done their jobs properly, this devoted husband and father of two would still be alive today.

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.

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