The family of a 6-year boy who was struck in the head by an oxygen tank causing his death at Westchester Medical Center has reached a settlement of $2.9 million in a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit.
The horrifying incident happened when a hospital staffer brought an oxygen canister into the MRI’s magnetic field while the 6-year old, Michael Colombini, was lying in the MRI chamber. The machine’s powerful magnet sent the metal oxygen tank flying into the chamber. The tank struck the boy in the head. He died two days later.
Michael Colombini had a benign brain tumor successfully removed at Westchester Medical Center and returned July 27, 2001 for a follow-up MRI. The boy was sedated and inside the MRI machine when a problem with the supply of piped-in oxygen to the MRI room occurred. An anesthesiologist called out to obtain oxygen, and oxygen tank was brought into the room. A NYS investigation concluded that the anesthesiologist brought the tank into the room, while the hospital internal investigation found that either a nurse or doctor brought the tank in.
A week after the accident, then president of Westchester Medical Center, Edward Stolzenberg, said the hospital “failed miserably” and he felt an “overwhelming sense of guilt.”
The family’s initial lawsuit included General Electric Corp., which manufactured the MRI machine and several individuals involved with the accident.
The settlement will be paid entirely by Westchester Medical Center. Neither the family nor Westchester Medical commented on the settlement.
Croton family settles with Westchester Medical Center over 2001 death of boy, 6, Journal News, Gary Stern, February 6, 2009.