Medical Malpractice Case Resolved involving Gamma Knife Procedure

Written By Thomas Hall

Millions of times every year, radiation is used as a treatment for many different disorders and diseases. So long as the radiation is directed at the intended target and is administered in a safe dose, radiation is a miraculous tool in the fight against both cancerous and noncancerous tumors.

One such radiation treatment uses a Gamma knife machine to treat tumors inside a patient’s head. This treatment uses computers to direct over 200 Gamma radiation beams to converge at the targeted tumor. Over a period of months or even years, the tumor will die because of the radiation exposure. However, it is of the utmost importance that the point where the Gamma knife beams converge is on the tumor, and not on any delicate nearby structures in the head, such as the patient’s optic nerves.

Atlee Hall lawyers resolved the case of a 42-year-old woman who underwent a Gamma Knife procedure. Months after her procedure, instead of the tumor dying, both of her optic nerves began to die. She lost all vision in her right eye and three-quarters of her field of vision in her left eye.

A thorough investigation revealed that those responsible for aligning the Gamma knife machine to that patient’s specific anatomy had completely missed the mark. Instead of the Gamma beams converging on the tumor, they actually converged on the patient’s optic nerves. In addition, the beams also hit a part of the patient’s brain that controls her endocrine system.

In addition to being left legally blind, the patient needed drugs to balance her thyroid, pancreatic, adrenal and pituitary functions.

Ultimately the case resolved to the patient’s satisfaction, with funds sufficient to help her with her many future economic needs.

This was an extremely complex case that involved extensive medical research and discovery. The result for our client, however, was well worth the expansive effort put forth by the entire Atlee Hall team that was necessary to bring about this resolution.