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Class Action Lawsuit Filed against Cedars Sinai Hospital over Radiation Overdose

Trevor Rees, one of the 206 patients who received a radiation dose eight times the normal dose during a CT scan at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, has filed a class action lawsuit against the hospital as well as General Electric (GE) Healthcare Technologies, the company that manufactured the CT scan machine.

The lawsuit alleges that Rees, 65, faces a higher risk of cancer due to the overdose radiation. The lawsuit also alleges that Rees faces the expense of long-term health monitoring and suffers from “severe and serious physical and emotional damage.”

The lawsuit states that hospital officials contacted Rees nine months after the defective CT scan and asked if he had experienced any side effects but did not tell him he had been overexposed.

“There was no mention of radiation to me on the phone at all. I never thought anything more about it until I saw the news five days later,” said Rees in a statement released by his attorney William Newkirk.

The 19-page lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Rees and “all individuals who received CT brain perfusion scans at CSMC from February, 2008 until August, 2009, or at any other medical or imaging facilities using CT imaging machines manufactured by GEHC/GEHCT, during the two-year period preceding this action.”

‘This isn’t just a Cedars-Sinai problem,” said Newkirk. ‘We believe that because of the way the machine is manufactured and explained to medical users, there is a very good change that this same situation has been or is being played out in radiology departments across the country. We have no idea how many people have been overdosed with radiation.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a safety investigation to determine whether overdoses of radiation occurred in hospitals or facilities other than Cedars-Sinai.

An FDA notice from October 8 stated: “While this event involved a single kind of diagnostic test at one facility, the magnitude of these overdoses and their impact on the affected patients were significant. This situation may reflect more widespread problems with CT quality assurance programs and may not be isolated to this particular facility or this imaging procedure.”

Rees had a CT scan on December 22, 2008 following a suspected stroke. He actually had a second scan two days later after being told that there were technical problems with the first scan.

The lawsuit reads: “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.”

“I certainly don’t relish the chance of dying of tumors,” Rees said in his statement. “I’m supposed to live stress free and this hasn’t helped matters.”

The lawsuit seeks general damages, past and future economic damages, loss of earnings, monitoring, treatment, and lawsuit costs.

Cedars-Sinai CEO Tom Priselac has recommended that the CT scanner make adjustments to the machine, such as adjusting the “auto” settings. “We present this information not to shift responsibility,” wrote Priselac, “but to maximize patient safety by involving manufacturers in the process of continually improving processes and equipment.”

If you’ve been injured in a healthcare setting or on another type of business property, contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer. To find out about your legal rights, call MLN Law at 404-531-9700.