Death Of Woman During MRI Procedure Moving Toward Trial

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Attorneys for a local doctor, the city of Sierra Vista, Canyon Vista Medical Center, and a bankrupt medical provider will be in court this week to set a trial date in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of a woman who died in 2018 during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure.

Andrea Peter alleges medical malpractice led to the May 7, 2018 death of her daughter Stacey Jolly-Chandler, who was referred for an MRI of her left thumb for possible carpal tunnel surgery. Judge John Kelliher of the Cochise County Superior Court will preside over a Sept. 23 hearing at which the parties will announce the trial date, which is expected to take place in early 2021.

According to Peter’s lawsuit, Jolly-Chandler went to Medical Diagnostic Imaging Group (MDIG), which was contracted with Canyon Vista Medical Center to provide radiology services. However, Jolly-Chandler began to have trouble breathing minutes after she was intravenously injected with a gadolinium dye as part of the outpatient procedure.

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Jolly-Chandler reportedly presented symptoms of anaphylaxis, also called anaphylactic shock, which is normally treated with epinephrine. However, Peter claims MDIG’s staff, including Dr. Veronica Yumo Ruvo, didn’t provide appropriate care in response to the emergency.

As a result, Jolly-Chandler, 45, was only semi-conscious when paramedics with Sierra Vista Fire and Medical Service arrived on-scene at 10:58 a.m. She was then transported to the emergency room at another part of Canyon Vista Medical Center where she died at 11:37 a.m.

Peter also contends three city paramedics were “negligent and grossly negligent” in their handling of the medical emergency. The lawsuit names the city under the legal theory of respondent superior, which holds an employer responsible for the actions or inactions of an employee. The individual city employees are not named as defendants.

An autopsy performed by the Pima County Office of the Medical revealed the presence of anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, amphetamines, antidepressants, and cannabinoids in Jolly-Chandler’s blood.  The lawsuit doesn’t address whether any other medical condition may have affected her reaction to the MRI dye.

Peter is seeking “reasonable fair and just compensation” as general damages for pain, anguish, and loss of consortium, as well as an award of special damages on behalf of her daughter’s statutory beneficiaries.

Bankruptcy court records show MDIG filed a Chapter 11 petition for relief last year. It’s unclear how the filing will impact the various deadlines previously set by the judge in Peter’s case.