Can a Radiologic Misdiagnosis Result in Litigation?
Your doctor has probably sent you to have an x-ray, an MRI, or a CT scan. Once the technician takes the image, it is sent to a radiologist who looks at the image and interprets what they see. A report is then created and sent to the doctor who ordered the imaging. Your doctor relies on what the radiologist puts in his report and makes decisions for further treatment or referrals to other specialists. Unfortunately, if the radiologist misses something or misinterprets the imaging, your physician may not provide the right treatment or refer you to someone for further evaluation and treatment.
In a study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University, it was reported that around 30 percent of all radiologic examinations are wrong, with one out of every three medical malpractice cases related to the misdiagnosis. Unfortunately, these misdiagnoses can lead to serious injuries and even death, so discussing the possibility that the radiologist committed medical malpractice is important. The lawyers at Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska LLC Law Firm in Wichita, Kansas, have successfully handled many cases involving radiologist malpractice and have a huge in-house library and many experts at their disposal to assist in determining whether malpractice has occurred.
Causes of Radiologic Misdiagnoses
According to the PHP Law Firm radiologist medical malpractice lawyers in Wichita, misdiagnoses caused by a radiologist’s negligence can be caused by a multitude of factors, including:
- Overworked staff due to understaffed hospitals and medical facilities
- Incompetence/inability to recognize certain diseases/diagnoses
- Improper training
- Performing the test on the incorrect location of the body
Violating the Standard of Care
Not every diagnostic error is considered evidence of medical negligence. Radiological negligence only occurs when the radiologist has violated what is commonly referred to as “the standard of care” in their area of specialty. The “standard of care” is based on the education and training a radiologist receives and what a reasonable health care professional would do in a similar situation. Radiologists are trained on what specific images are best for a given patient and how to interpret and report those images to the ordering doctor. So, how other radiologists across the country apply their training to each patient sets the standard of care.
If your radiologist did not follow that standard of care, he was negligent, and he is responsible and accountable for any misdirection that occurs as a result of his negligence. There is additional guidance provided by the organization that certifies radiologists in the form of rules, regulations, and guidelines. These are published by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and are often used to determine whether the profession’s standards have been violated. The lawyers at Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska know the education and training radiologists must go through, the rules and regulations promulgated by the ACR, and know what the standard of care requires a radiologist to do when processing, interpreting, and reporting all types of radiological imaging.
Common Conditions Missed by Radiologists
Some of the most common conditions that are misdiagnosed include:
- Cancer (especially breast, lung, and colon)
- Pulmonary embolism
- Bacterial meningitis
- Brain injuries
- Neurological injuries
- Traumatic injury to internal organs
Misdiagnosing a patient can be the most life-threatening mistake a medical professional can make and can lead to the acceleration and mutation of the disease, sometimes to a point where the patient cannot benefit from treatment or even die. If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of radiologist negligence, you should contact Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska to investigate whether radiological negligence has occurred and explore your options.
How PHP Law Firm Can Help
When you contact the lawyers at Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska, we will schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation before making a recommendation. If our medical malpractice team feels that you were the victim of radiologic medical malpractice and you would like to proceed with legal action, you will not be charged any fees unless we win compensation for you.
Contact us directly at (316) 683-9080 to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you!