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Hospital faces another lawsuit

Woman claims she received burns and scarring after having an MRI at Hoag.

March 22, 2010|By Joseph Serna

A woman is suing Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, claiming that two months after an MRI machine crushed another patient’s leg in 2009, she had her arms burned during her MRI exam there.

Patricia Lopez filed a lawsuit against the hospital last week. She is asking for unlimited damages, and claiming medical negligence and custodial neglect, because she is a dependent adult suffering from a disability. What kind of disability Lopez has was not immediately clear.

According to the complaint, on March 12, 2009, Lopez was diagnosed with a distal deep vein thrombosis, and she complained of shortness of breath. Five days later, she was ordered to undergo an MRI, a process that shows detailed images of a person’s organs and tissues.

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While she was in the MRI chamber, Lopez claims she began feeling a burning sensation on the back of her arms just above each elbow. It hurt so much that she screamed, but the MRI technician didn’t at first respond, according to the lawsuit. When the employee finally did realize Lopez was in pain, he covered her arms with sheets and continued the process, she claims.

In her lawsuit, she said the burn on her left arm was so bad that it blistered, but nurses checking on her afterward only applied a salve to the open wound. It wasn’t until hours later that she was given a dressing, and while nurses administered that they burst the blister, according to the lawsuit.

Doctors continued to treat Lopez at home, but the burns left a scar, she claims.

The lawsuit is the latest claim against Hoag Hospital. They were fined $50,000 in January for an incident in January 2009 where a woman’s leg was crushed between the MRI machine and a wheelchair and from a 2008 incident where medical tools were left in a man’s abdomen after surgery.

Hospital officials did not immediately return calls for comment on Lopez’s lawsuit.


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