A patient was killed in a shocking accident in New York at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center. The 66-year-old veteran was crushed when a gamma camera fell on him during a routine diagnostic procedure on June 5th. The massive Infinia Hawkeye 4 gamma camera involved in the fatal accident weighs more than 5,000 pounds. The diagnostic system is manufactured by General Electric Healthcare; they are also responsible for the camera’s maintenance.
Gamma camera accidents are rare, but William Spies, a professor of radiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, recalls a similar incident occurring many years ago.
GE sent an urgent letter dated June 17, 2013 to all affected medical facilities. The letter recommended that qualified service personnel maintain the medical equipment and that operators should review safety procedures. Then, on June 3rd, GE issued a Class I recall, instructing hospitals to stop using the device because serious injuries or deaths could occur.
The Food and Drug Administration is encouraging healthcare professionals and patients to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of the gamma camera to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program
Improperly manufactured or maintained medical equipment and devices can leave patients at risk for a variety of debilitating injuries. If you or a loved one has used a dangerous or recalled medical device, our injury lawyers can help. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.
“Equipment Collapses, Killing Patient” by Tamer El-Ghobashy and Christopher Weaver, Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2013.
“GE Healthcare Nuclear Medicine Systems: Class I Recall – Serious Injuries or Deaths Could Occur” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, July 29, 2013.