Misdiagnosing Patient MRIs

A lawsuit was brought by 2 former employees alleging ProScan of using lower-paid physician assistants to “ghost read” MRI images resulting in frequent misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses (1). The result were misreadings, misdiagnoses, and “grave concerns” by experts in the field. The article used the example of a misdiagnosis of a horse race jockey which originally resulted with “no acute pathology,” on the MRI. However when reviewed by an expert neurologist, it was found to be life-threatening and serious – “two severe spinal cord injuries in the jockey’s neck and a complete tear of the ligament that stabilized his neck.” This comes to light as the case was recently unsealed.

“A federal judge unsealed a whistleblower lawsuit on Thursday accusing ProScan – one of the largest MRI-reading companies in the nation – of using physician assistants, instead of doctors, to improperly read hundreds of MRIs each day and wrongly diagnose patients (1).

This contradicts what the Proscan website (2) says:

“Founded by Stephen J. Pomeranz, M.D., ProScan Reading Services (PRS) is comprised of a dedicated team of highly specialized, board-certified, and fellowship-trained radiologists. The ProScan radiology team has one of the most extensive combined case experiences in the world and our radiologists are recognized experts in MR, CT, PET, and Ultrasound (2).”

This article and this blog IS NOT about mid-level practitioners, individual integrity of practitioners, or scope of practice (although it very well could be), but more about how there is this trend in healthcare to cut corners, use cheaper alternatives, and cheaper labor with disastrous results. We see it all the time. How many times do you want to put your elderly patient on 1:1 status in the hospital so she doesn’t fall, and you are scorned because there isn’t enough staff to do the job – and then she falls? How many times are you told your patient’s insurance won’t cover any more days, but he’s still septic on IV antibiotics with encephalopathy? How many times are you told by the pharmacy that the drug you ordered isn’t covered and you have to use a cheaper alternative that you don’t want? How many times are you denied a brain MRI or CT because the acute mental status changes/delirium is a clinical diagnosis, and you’re told there is no added value to the imaging? How many MD/DOs are getting canned and being replaced by cheaper mid-level providers? How many times have you referred to a MD/DO specialist and get the notes back that they didn’t end up seeing said specialist you referred to? The list goes on ad nauseam. This article is a case in point. We’re caught up in a day and age where health care is less and less about medicine and more and more about business and money. Money itself is not a bad thing, but when the priority in healthcare comes down to money over health, corners get cut, best practices go out the window, and we see disastrous things like in this article. Have a great day. 

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.wcpo.com/news/i-team/whistleblower-lawsuit-accuses-proscan-of-fraud-misdiagnosing-patient-mris?fbclid=IwAR3bN0uVHqxS1UM2pxHQcMT7sgXariRQmaWRTJDBdK5lGteVrmqwB_7N2r0
  2. https://proscan.com/physician-resources/proscan-reading-services/

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