Negligent Use of Contrast Dye Leads to Death

The family of a 75 year old woman recently settled a medical malpractice / medical negligence lawsuit for $1.5 million against a hospital and radiology technician who performed a CT scan on the woman despite the fact that she had previously experienced a reaction to the contrast (Intravenous Pyelogram or IVP) dye.  Despite completing a questionnaire that indicated she had, in the past, experienced a severe adverse reaction to the dye, the radiology technician nevertheless injected her with the dye.  As a result, the woman began to experience laryngeal edema (swelling) which, in turn, caused her to suffocate and die.  The family alleged that technician was negligent because he knew she had experienced an allergic reaction previously. 

It is well known that people taking beta blockers have an increased risk of serious allergic reaction to IVP dye.  In addition, some researchers have discovered the persons with allergies to shellfish and seafood account for up to 15% of the population that have reactions to IVP dye.   Histories of asthma or hay fever may also increase one's risk for a reaction.   Recent studies indicate that serious allergic reactions occur in 1.2 to 1.5 percent of the population with life threatening reactions occurring in approximately .1 to .5 percent of people.   Even the administration of a small dose of the dye can trigger a fatal reaction.  In many cases, if the administration of IVP dye is essential to the diagnostic requirements, these individuals are often prescribed corticosteroids to reduce inflammation before receiving the dye.   Perhaps most importantly, health care providers who inject IVP must have life-saving equipment at hand that is in working order and be trained to use it in an emergency.  In the event of an adverse reaction, treatment must include airway maintenance with oxygen administration; administration of medications to reduce bronchospams; and intravenous fluids to help maintain blood pressure. 

Symptoms of an allergy to the IVP dye include, but are not limited to:  facial swelling; itching; hives; nausea; vomiting; difficulty breathing; airway closure; wheezing; low blood pressure; coma; shock; and death. These symptoms typically are experienced within 1-2 hours of the IVP administration.  It is estimated that approximately 500 people per year die in the United States as a result of IVP allergic reactions.  Many of these reactions could be successfully prevented if careful attention is paid to the patient's medical history and past experiences with IVP dye by health care providers or those administering the dye.

If you or a loved one have experienced an adverse reaction following the administration of IVP dye in advance of a radiology study, contact the lawyers at STSW for a free consultation at 410-385-2225 or visit our website to set up your free consultation.  Our lawyers frequently handle these types of lawsuits against Baltimore and Washington D.C. area hospitals and radiology professionals, including those at Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland Medical System, Union Memorial Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Frederick Memorial Hospital, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Sinai Hospital, St. Agnes Hospital, Harbor Hospital and others.