Over the past few years, the professional role of the radiologist has changed more into a clinical management role of the patient’s overall care. Radiologists have been given new duties by medical facilities and hospitals, but those duties have also increased their professional liabilities. Radiologists are now at higher risk for legal claims made against them, especially when they make critical diagnostic errors. Malpractice lawsuits can be filed against radiologists who operate negligently, especially when they fail to provide the standard level of care to the best of their ability, are not cautious with the use of off-label radiology drugs, or fail to communicate.
Diagnostic errors are by far the most common complaint in medical malpractice suits against radiologists, but these errors can often be avoided.
Missing a diagnosis, most often with regard to breast cancer, is one of the most common reasons for malpractice lawsuits in the radiology field. According to a study conducted by the journal, Radiology, 2,624 radiologists (roughly 31 percent) had at least one malpractice claim against them in their career. The most common cause for those lawsuits was diagnostic errors, which totaled 14.83 claims per 1,000 persons per year.
Just some of the most commonly missed diagnoses included:
Some other common lawsuits included procedural complications, radiologist and referrer communication errors, and unnecessary testing.
Radiologists are physicians; as such, they are required to provide a standard level of care to their patients – even if they are not considered to be the “treating” physician of that patient. In most instances of malpractice, the victim suffers injuries because of the mistakes involved in misreading or misinterpreting diagnostic tests. When that condition goes untreated, further complications (and even death) can occur. Just some errors common with radiology tests include:
Victims can vary in age groups, and the misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis can range from cancer to tubal pregnancy to other complications. All of these errors can result in a significant delay in treatment, which can affect the patient’s quality of life.
If you had a misdiagnosis due to improperly read radiological tests, you may have options available to you for recourse. You will need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney first to assess the viability of your claim. In most radiology error cases, you may have a malpractice claim against the radiologist, as well as your treating physician – since the treating physician should also be reviewing the results of your tests.
If you or a loved one suffered from delayed treatments due to a failure to diagnose, you may have a malpractice claim against the doctor, radiologist, or even the facility. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Contact us online to get started.