There was once a woman who filed a malpractice suit claiming that the CAT scan she received made her unable to use her psychic powers… and she won (well, sort of).
Judith Richardson Haimes once earned her living as a psychic, and was able to read people’s auras and help police solve crimes (a true TV plot line). Haimes claimed that she could also conduct seances and observe the past and future, while having a psychic practice in New Castle, Delaware.
In 1976, Haimes went to Temple University Hospital for a computed axial tomography (CAT) scan to discover the nature and cause of tumors in her ear. While there, she warned the radiologist that she had had previous allergic reactions to iodine-based dyes and therefore had been told to avoid these dyes. Apparently, the radiologist dismissed the warnings and proposed that they would experiment with a small amount of dye.
Once injected with the dye, Haimes very quickly went into anaphylactic shock and felt like her “head was going to explode”. In the following days, she suffered from intense nausea, vomiting, welts and hives, and intense headaches. The headaches seem to continue whenever she attempted deep mental concentration. After a couple of months, the headaches were so debilitating that she had to close down her psychic business.
During the trial, Haimes' team presented the testimony of three law enforcement officers who claimed she helped solve their crimes.
When weighing the malpractice claim, the judge reportedly instructed the jury not to consider her assertions about her psychic powers and the loss of her practice in the claim. Rather, they should solely focus on the damages from the allergic reaction, such as welts, hives, and nausea.
So, the eight-person jury went away for 45 minutes. When they came back, it was decided to award Haimes $988,000 ($600,000 in damages and $388,000 in interest).
Of course, the hospital attorneys were outraged following the verdict and argued that the jury had disregarded the judge’s instructions, and requested that the verdict be set aside. The judge agreed on appeal and denied the award as grossly excessive, ordering a new trial.
A second trial was conducted in 1989 and the entire case was dismissed, when it was ruled by a new judge that the plaintiff’s medical expert lacked qualifications. This ruling was then affirmed by a divided Pennsylvania Superior Court in 1991.
So, despite originally winning nearly $1 million in damages, Judith Richardson Haimes never saw a single cent of it, nor received adequate medical care for her issues.