By Brian Casey, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

April 15, 2014 -- A radiologic technologist in Georgia accused of marking nearly 1,300 mammograms as normal when they were never interpreted by a radiologist today pleaded guilty in the case and has received a sentence of at least five months in jail.

Rachael Michelle Rapraeger of Macon, GA, pleaded guilty to one count of felony computer forgery and 10 counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct before Judge Katherine Lumsden of Houston County Superior Court. Rapraeger was sentenced to 160-180 days in a probation-detention center and 10 years of probation.

Rapraeger was a technologist working at Perry Hospital in Perry, GA, in April 2010 when a quality check of mammography exams discovered a discrepancy -- namely, that an employee of the hospital had processed hundreds of mammography studies without having them read by a radiologist.

Further investigation of the case led authorities to Rapraeger, who was accused of entering negative results for 1,289 mammograms from January 2009 to April 2010 into the hospital's PACS without a radiologist's interpretation. Of the mammograms, at least 10 were positive for ether cancer or other breast abnormalities.

Rapraeger marked the mammograms as negative because she felt "overwhelmed" about the workload she faced at Perry Hospital, a 45-bed facility in the Houston Healthcare network, according to her attorney, Floyd Buford Jr.

"She was overwhelmed with her work; she had too much work on her and was afraid to get behind, and she entered some false readings," Buford told AuntMinnie.com.

Rapraeger has expressed remorse for her actions, Buford said. She will begin serving her prison sentence in the next few weeks. She has also been barred from working in the healthcare profession, according to an article in the Macon Telegraph.

In addition to Rapraeger's criminal proceedings, the case has led to some 33 civil cases filed against Houston Healthcare, according to Buford, who is not a party to the civil litigation. At least two women named in the indictment against Rapraeger have died, the Telegraph reported, while a third has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in relation to the case.

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Last Updated bc 4/24/2014 12:44:15 PM

18 comments so far ...
4/15/2014 7:46:53 PM
xrayangiodoc
Sounds like she got off easy! Charge should have been criminally negligent homicide!

4/15/2014 8:07:24 PM
eupara
so sad. pray for the victims.. 

4/16/2014 12:12:57 AM
Noah''sArk
ok light sentence but it is not her responsibility to get those studies read..again what environment and what rads did the hospital have to get those studies read..not Kosher

4/16/2014 5:26:49 AM
trivers
Something is not right and there must be holes in this story. A tech does not have the authority to determine if a mammo is normal or abnormal and it has to be signed by a radiologist. If they are doing structured reporting and the tech is filling ut the form before it gets to a Rad its his or her responsibility to review the report before signing it.

4/16/2014 5:41:05 AM
fw
Quote from trivers

Something is not right and there must be holes in this story. A tech does not have the authority to determine if a mammo is normal or abnormal and it has to be signed by a radiologist. If they are doing structured reporting and the tech is filling ut the form before it gets to a Rad its his or her responsibility to review the report before signing it.

 
The accusation was that the tech had surrepticiously obtained the login for one of the rads and signed off the reports in RIS.
 
I agree, something is 'not right' here. The tech is not who benefitted from this fraud and is getting off pretty light considering the scale of the offense. Either the department manager or the rad was in on it.
 
I disagree on one thing. For the question 'normal or abnormal' I have found experienced mammo techs to be right on the money most of the time. One of my attendings during residency had a private mammo practice prior to retirement into academia. He did a experiment with one of the higschool kids who was hired to load the alternators to mark the ones he though were abnormal in the hanging log. For the basic 'normal/abnormal' question the kid was no better or worse than the junior associates he had hired at the time.