Bill Pugh, V successfully defended a radiologist and a hospital in Philadelphia County.
It was alleged that the radiologist misinterpreted a CAT scan of the head, which resulted in the death of a 23-year-old male.
The plaintiff, a 23-year-old male, sustained a closed head injury while riding a motorcycle. After the collision with another motorbike, the plaintiff was taken to a local emergency room. He arrived in the emergency room at approximately 10:00 p.m. A CAT scan of the head was taken at the hospital and the on-call radiologist read the films from home (teleradiology) and reported that the CAT scan was negative for fracture and negative for bleed. The plaintiff was considered "neurologically stable" and was discharged from the emergency room at approximately 1:00 p.m.
The next morning, the head CT was re-read by the radiologist who noted a skull fracture and a small subdural hematoma. That information was communicated to the emergency room. It was alleged that that new information was not adequately delivered to the plaintiff.
Approximately 12 days after the original accident, the plaintiff rode his motorcycle again on a moto-cross track. A rider was riding behind the plaintiff and the plaintiff went around a bend and out of view of the trailing biker. When the trailing biker made the turn around the bend, he saw the plaintiff lying on the ground and unconscious. The plaintiff was taken by Medivac to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and the trauma team noted a subdural hematoma with profuse cerebral edema with mass affect and pulmonary edema. He died 4 days later.
The plaintiffs alleged that the plaintiff had further evidence of bleeding in the subdural space on the CAT scan performed following the second motorbike incident as compared to the first CAT scan as well as increased cerebral edema and mass affect. Neurologically, the plaintiffs alleged that there was a re-bleed or a "slow continual bleed" following his initial subdural hematoma. The plaintiffs' experts alleged that death could have been prevented if the subdural hematoma was properly diagnosed and treated based on the first CAT scan.
The defendants alleged that the plaintiff suffered a second trauma to his head following a second motorcycle accident. The defendants' experts testified that the plaintiff did not die from a massive subdural hematoma. They further testified that there was absolutely no evidence of a massive subdural hematoma on any of the CAT scans. The experts stated that the plaintiff died from a massive cerebral contusion secondary to a second motorcycle accident.