Lawyer claims at trial that X-ray was misread
May 31, 2001
By Tim Gulla
In a lengthy opening statement on Wednesday an attorney for a Swoyersville woman who is suffering from a tumor that went undetected for two years took aim at an area hospital system.
Tara Yaglowski is seeking damages from an area doctor, Wyoming Valley Health Care System and Nesbitt Memorial Hospital because no one spotted a tumor in a September 1996 X-ray of her chest.
When the much larger tumor was finally spotted in a 1998 X-ray, Yaglowski allegedly was forced to undergo severely disfiguring but ultimately unsuccessful surgeries to remove the growth.
Attorney Joseph Quinn, who represents Yaglowski, argued that his medical experts would say the misread X-ray in 1996 was "inevitable" because the hospital overworked its radiologists.
It is alleged that Dr. Nareshkumar Shah, the radiologist who reviewed the 1996 X-ray for Yaglowski s family physician, has acknowledged that he misread the X-ray in reporting it to show no abnormalities.
Quinn is alleging that normal guidelines call for radiologist to review between 10,000 and 15,000 films a year.
Records obtained only one week ago reportedly showed that Shah conducted 23,896 studies in the 1996-1997 fiscal year.
Quinn argued this number did not include consultations Shah did at other facilities. He also pointed out that Shah had many other duties within the hospital system.
Quinn argued that the four radiologists at Nesbitt Memorial Hospital were "forced" to read more than 20,000 X-rays, well above the normal guidelines.
"What happened on Sept. 17 (1996) was inevitable," he argued.
Quinn further argued that Dr. Shah wrote a letter to his superiors on Oct. 28, 1996, in which he requested the hiring of additional radiologists.
The attorney further argued that the hospital had a policy of giving productivity bonuses as an incentive for its radiologists to read more X-rays.
During Yaglowski's surgeries, several portions of her ribs were removed, as was a portion of her clavicle. The operations have left her disfigured and her left arm "non-functional," Quinn argued.
The attorney argued that Yaglowski, who works as a veterinarian's assistant, lives in chronic pain.
Should further operations be required, Yaglowski could face the possibility of a "fore-quarter" amputation, Quinn told the jury.
During the opening statements, the panel saw photographs of Yaglowski's scars and the result of the operation that removed her clavicle.
The attorneys for Dr. Shah and Wyoming Valley Health Care System and General Medical Services will present their opening statements Thursday morning.