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Palmer | Lopez Motto

Jury Deliberating in Gadolinium Allergy Case


A 45-year-old man sued his doctor after he suffered a severe reaction to the drug gadolinium. The jury is currently deliberating and will need to decide whether or not the man’s doctor reacted quickly enough to the allergic reaction. The question being put to jurors is: Did the doctor’s actions fall below the prevailing standard of care such that they could constitute medical malpractice. Below, we’ll talk about the facts surrounding this case.

One in Ten-Thousand Cases 

A radiologist testified that the type of allergic reaction the plaintiff experienced is exceedingly rare—about 1 in 10,000. Gadolinium is used in MRIs as a contrast material that makes the MRI more effective. About one in every three MRIs use gadolinium for this purpose.

When the gadolinium was administered, the patient began showing a reaction to it. In a standard MRI room, there is an alarm that can be pushed to summon help. In this case, the technician had to return to the MRI control center to sound the alarm. Further, the hospital did not have medication in the MRI room that could be used to treat patients having allergic reactions.

MRI rooms are supposed to have drug boxes inside them in case of an emergency. The hospital testified that the MRI room is within 60ft of the emergency room, so they didn’t feel they needed a drug box. Unfortunately, the patient wasn’t immediately transferred to the ER.

Instead, after sounding the alarm, the MRI tech left to retrieve an ER doctor. The doctor didn’t immediately respond to the alarm because, they testified, that they were unfamiliar with the sound. The doctor was further faulted for not administering epinephrine to the patient at the time.

The delay resulted in the plaintiff sustaining permanent physical injuries.

The Defense 

The defense will likely argue that the doctor who failed to administer the epinephrine did so because they were afraid that the cure would be worse than the problem. Epinephrine is a dangerous drug and administering it without a full patient workup would be dangerous. Further, the proximity of the MRI room to the emergency room mitigated any dangers posed by the lack of a drug box or alarm within the MRI control room.

In essence, they will say that this is an unfortunate situation and that the outcome wasn’t perfect, but the doctors who attended to the plaintiff did everything in their power to ensure that he was safe. Since the reaction is so rare, they wouldn’t have necessarily been looking for it.

Despite these potential arguments for the defendants, this case appears to be one in which the plaintiff will prevail.

Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney Today 

If you’ve suffered injury due to the negligent practice of medicine, call the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can hold those responsible for your injuries accountable.


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