Settlement details released in $2.9M Colombini MRI suit

2010 02 08 16 03 53 907 Gavel 70

A New York court has released the details of a $2.9 million legal settlement received by the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed nine years ago when an oxygen canister was brought into the MRI suite where he was being scanned.

The parents of Michael Colombini reached the settlement with Westchester County Health Care of Valhalla, NY. Details of the settlement, which was formally agreed upon in October 2009, became official and made public on January 21 by the Supreme Court of the State of New York for Westchester County.

In July 2001, the youngster was anesthetized and placed in an MRI scanner for follow-up after surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. When the boy began to suffer respiratory distress, the MRI staff tried to use the suite's built-in oxygen supply, but it did not work.

When someone brought a portable steel oxygen tank into the room, the magnetic force of the MRI scanner pulled the tank toward the system. The tank struck the boy in the head, and he died two days later.

The parents initially brought a $20 million lawsuit against Westchester Medical Center and its parent company, Westchester County Health Care; Dr. Terence Matalon, who was the center's chief of radiology at the time of the incident but was not present when the death occurred; two of the radiologic technologists who were present at the time of the accident; and GE Healthcare of Chalfont St. Giles, U.K., manufacturer of the MRI system.

GE was dismissed as a defendant in the case in a pretrial motion, and the settlement discontinues with prejudice any previous action against the company. The agreement also discontinues any actions with prejudice against Westchester County Health Care staff who were named in the lawsuit, including Matalon.

By Wayne Forrest staff writer
February 5, 2010

Related Reading

Rise in MRI accidents highlights need for magnet safety, August 11, 2009

Civil trial in Colombini MR-related death set for March, November 14, 2007

Did the MRI community learn from the Colombini tragedy? July 28, 2005

The fire extinguisher in your MRI suite: will it save a life or take one? September 22, 2004

MR accident results in child's death, July 31, 2001

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