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Hagyard Attorneys Respond To Equine X-Rays Suit

Samantha Lederman

The counsel for Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in the lawsuit filed in Fayette Circuit Court last week has issued a statement. WUKY’s Samantha Lederman has the details.

Thursday February 7th Mason Miller alleged in a suit on behalf of Illinois native Tom Swearingen that several vets at Hagyard had falsified the dates on x-rays in the Keeneland repository, and destroyed the original radiographs.

According to Michael Casey who is representing Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, “Hagyard Equine Medical Institute believes the lawsuit is without merit and will demonstrate it is based on a fundamental misrepresentation of the facts. We will vigorously address the misrepresentations and claims made in the suit through the proper legal channels.”

In an additional statement issued via Casey today, Hagyard partner Dr Luke Fallon reiterated those claims and went into further detail. Dr Fallon added, “Mr. Swearingen’s claim that Hagyard intentionally destroyed radiographs, and his suggestion this was done to cover something up, is not true. The fact is the radiograph units used by Hagyard take digital images, and those images are then transferred from the mobile radiograph unit with a limited storage capacity to a computer server, similar to how someone might download a song or other digital information. The radiographs are stored on Hagyard’s servers in the exact condition as they were taken on the mobile radiograph unit. Kentucky regulations require radiographs to be maintained for five years. Hagyard’s servers maintain radiographs longer than required by regulations.”

Dr Fallon acknowledged that some images were misdated by several days to fit within  the sale requirements, but after self reporting to the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners and a thorough examination, the KBVE found no evidence that the X-rays did not “accurately reflect the condition of the horse for sale purposes”

Dr Michael Spirito, a surgeon named in the lawsuit, said in his KBVE interview that the dates on the original and altered X-rays might have differed by a week at most, and estimated that over a period of ten years he misdated ten percent or less of all the radiographs he’d ever taken.

Dr Fallon has been a vet at Hagyard Equine for 22 years, and his great-great grandfather founded the practice in 1876.

No court date has yet been set.

Listeners might remember Lederman and her English accent from when she was a morning news anchor on WUKY from 1999 to 2001.