Lawyers representing more than 100 clients suffering from radiation overexposure are having their lawsuits against two Los Angeles hospitals and General Electric Co. consolidated in a California courtroom.
A Los Angeles Times report on Wednesday added Los Angeles-USC Medical Center and Bakersfield Memorial Hospital to the list of hospitals where overdoses occurred – this time with scanners manufactured by Toshiba.
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Last year, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Glendale Adventist Medical Center and Huntsville Hospital in Alabama were alerted by the FDA for potentially overexposing patients to radiation.
Santa Clarita attorney Richard Patterson, of the Owen, Patterson and Owen law firm, is representing at least 100 of those patients.
“What we’re talking about is a major mistake here – not just extra CT scans,” said Patterson.
According to Patterson, his clients have experienced multiple symptoms due to the excessive radiation, including disorientation, Erythema (redness of skin) and a peculiar form of hair loss, leaving a bald band stretching from temple to temple around the scalp.
Each of Patterson’s clients experienced the overexposure with technicians operating GE equipment for perfusion scans – a relatively quick test that diagnoses strokes by examining blood flow in the brain.
There are no reports of lawsuits being filed against Toshiba.
“These scans exposed people to five to 10 times the amount of radiation they were supposed to get,” said Patterson.
Among those held responsible in the civil suit are the companies that manufactured the CT scanners and the hospital technicians who operated them.
“For instance, at Cedars-Sinai, for 261 scans (the technicians) didn’t notice,” said Patterson. “That’s where the product design defect comes in.”
According to Patterson, the machines were set at a radiation level unsafe for patients, and may not have properly alerted technicians when patients were at risk.
“There’s a lot of responsibility to go around.”