Radiology is a remarkable science that allows our treating physicians to use images to diagnose and treat diseases seen in our body. Examples of radiology include X Rays, MRI’s, CT Scans, and mammograms.
Emergency room physicians and other treating physicians utilize radiology to rule out serious injuries and diseases to prevent the progression and to treat any illnesses or injuries appropriately.
Therefore, when a radiology error is made, the patient may suffer severe and disabling health consequences through no fault of their own. Yet, radiology departments often experience the highest rates of medical errors in a hospital system.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to radiology malpractice, Joe Lyon is an experienced medical malpractice attorney accepting cases based on radiology malpractice.
Offering contingency fees, The Lyon Firm gathers the medical records and the medical experts to evaluate the case and to make a determination as to whether the injury was a result of radiology malpractice.
Radiology Malpractice Injury
Common Radiology Malpractice Cases
- Misread X-Rays, MRIs or CAT Scans: Overall, approximately “75 percent of all medical malpractice claims against radiologists are related to diagnostic errors,” meaning that three out of four court cases involving radiologists are a result of their direct misdiagnoses of cancer or bone breakages on the film.
- Failure to suggest the next appropriate procedure: According to the American College of Radiology, a Radiologist must suggest follow up or additional diagnostic studies to clarify or confirm impressions when appropriate. Hand-offs from one medical professional to another often result in communication errors. A lack of appropriate medical information or suggestion for follow up is a leading cause of radiology malpractice in the hospital industry.
- Failure to communicate in a timely and clinically appropriate manner: The radiologist is responsible for communicating the results directly to the referring physician. Errors due to communication errors are a common basis of radiology malpractice in Cincinnati Hospitals.
- Fatigue: Length of workdays additionally affect the number of radiology errors. As is common with any worker, job performance may begin to slack as the work day draws to a close, due to mere fatigue resulting from extensive exertion.
However, unlike most professions, if a radiologist’s performance falls below the standard of care, it could result in fatal or legal consequences. In fact, studies have been conducted on this one conclusion alone, specifically with radiologists.
In the Journal of the American College of Radiology, author Elizabeth Krupinski argues that: “Diagnostic accuracy was reduced significantly after a day of clinical reading… Radiologists have reduced ability to focus, increased symptoms of fatigue and oculomotor strain.”
Radiology Malpractice & Cancer Misdiagnosis
Radiology errors are particularly dangerous where they involve cancer misdiagnosis. Failure to diagnose cancer is a serious medical malpractice issue with staggering implications for radiologists and patients alike.
In 2013, the American Cancer Society forecasted that about 1,660,300 cases would be diagnosed. The first rule in treating cancer is the earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance of a favorable outcome. Unfortunately, many patients are not diagnosed timely and the result is more invasive care, worsening prognosis, and in the some cases an untimely death.
Frequently, cancerous lesions on earlier radiographic imaging studies such as mammograms, CAT Scans, MRIs, or X-Rays, but the radiologist did not recognize them for earlier treatment.
Where there is a delay due to a radiology error, a medical malpractice lawyer should be contacted to assist in the review of the case and to seek compensation for the damages caused by the misdiagnosis.
Radiology Malpractice Lawsuits
The number of delays in diagnosing cancer due to radiology errors is unknown, but based on a review of the medical literature, the statistics suggest it is very high. Several studies published in peer review medical journals have addressed the frequency of radiology errors and found high rates of misdiagnosis.
A study conducted over the course of 1981 to 2001 found that “the level of error for clinically significant or major error in radiology is in the range 2-20% and varies depending on the radiological investigation.” In addition, another study that reviewed data over 40 years showed an error rate of 30% for radiologists.
Finally, in The World Journal of Radiology, it was disclosed that 30-70 percent of mammograms conducted a second time that show cancerous tumors actually do indicate tumors on the initial misdiagnosed mammogram. That means that up to seven out of ten mammograms are misdiagnosed the first time.
Additional Radiology Malpractice Resources