Radiologists are physicians who diagnose medical conditions using imaging technology, such as X-rays and CT scans. They are trained to interpret diagnostic images. They typically review imaging test results and report their findings to a referring physician.
Their role in medical treatment can be vital. When radiologists make a misdiagnosis, the consequences for patients can be very serious.
Types of Medical Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis is a common type of medical error. A misdiagnosis generally falls into one of the following categories:
· A missed diagnosis
· A wrong diagnosis
· A delayed diagnosis
According to the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, an organization focused on preventing patient harm from a medical misdiagnosis, a third of all medical malpractice lawsuits that involve a patient’s death or permanent injury allege a wrong or delayed diagnosis.
SIDM also reports as many as 80,000 patients a year die in the United States from a diagnostic error.
A recently published report details medical malpractice lawsuits involving radiologists.
Medscape is an online medical publication. In January it published the results of its “Radiologists Malpractice Report 2021,” based on its survey of 4,300 doctors in 29 specialties, including radiology. Just over 300 radiologists participated in the online survey, conducted last summer.
It found 64% of radiologists said they had been sued for medical malpractice. More than half of the radiologists have been in practice for over 25 years.
Most Common Allegations in Radiologist Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The most common allegation in those lawsuits was a “failure to diagnose/delayed diagnosis.” Nearly two-thirds of all radiology medical malpractice claims involved those misdiagnosis allegations.
Other top medical malpractice allegations and outcomes reported by radiologists included:
· Complications from treatment/surgery
· Death of the patient
· Failure to treat/delayed treatment
While over half of the radiologists sued for medical malpractice said they would have done nothing differently, others did acknowledge additional steps they should have taken. The most common additional step was to order additional tests.
Other additional steps radiologists said they should have taken were linked to poor communication, another common cause of medical errors. These include:
· Getting a second opinion
· Better chart documentation
· Spending more time with the patient and patient’s family
Most of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits – the patients or the patients’ families – received financial compensation.
Severe medical issues often are identified or detected by imaging test results. When those test results are incorrectly interpreted, or correctly read but not communicated in a timely manner, patients may be seriously injured. When this occurs, patients or surviving family members may wish to pursue just financial compensation for the harm incurred.
If you or a loved one was the victim of what you believe was a serious error during medical treatment, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog February 18, 2022