EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 27, 2012

Couple wins $5M judgment against radiologist

A Rockingham County jury earlier this month awarded a New Hampshire couple $5 million after a medical malpractice trial against a radiologist whom the couple said did not diagnose and prevent an impending stroke that caused brain damage.

Noel and Adam Jodoin, of Fremont, N.H., sued radiologist Dr. Ellen Johnson, then known as Ellen Gerety, accusing her of missing evidence on a CT scan of a stroke Noel Jodoin was about to suffer in 2007. Attorneys for the Jodoins said the stroke was severe and the hemorrhage damaged Noel Jodoin’s brain.

Gary Richardson, an attorney with Upton & Hatfield of Concord, N.H., the firm that represented the Jodoins, said two emergency room physicians and a physician’s assistant could not treat Jodoin to prevent a stroke because of Johnson’s faulty CT scan reading.

“The radiologist had read the CT scan as negative and the other health providers relied on that reading in treating the patient in believing she was suffering from a migraine headache,” Richardson said.

The jury deliberated for three hours Nov. 15 after a two week trial before returning with a verdict that held Johnson responsible and awarded the Jodoins $5 million in damages, the amount the couple had sought.

J. Peter Kelley, a Burlington, Mass., attorney who defended Johnson, directed questions about the judgment to a public relations specialist Katharine Gould, who said she could not comment on the case.

Johnson currently works as a radiologist at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen. An email and phone calls seeking comment from a hospital spokesperson were not returned. Johnson’s license is active and as of Nov. 21 there were no malpractice or disciplinary records on her Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine file.

On Aug. 9, 2007, Noel Johnson, then 25, went to Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire at about 8:30 a.m. for treatment of a severe headache that had started three days earlier, according to court documents. She saw occasional flashes of light and over-the-counter headache medicine was not effective.

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