Radiology Malpractice: The Beginning of a Nightmare
A significant number of medical malpractice claims have been traced back to an error in the first readings of image results, such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, echocardiograms, and more. The interpretation of medical imagery determines the course of a patient’s treatment, and if that interpretation is inaccurate, it can not only keep the patient from getting the necessary treatment, but also place him or her at risk of undergoing unnecessary treatment.
There are two main parties whose interpretation of imagery has an impact on the patient’s treatment:
- The radiologist: has specific expertise in administering and reading medical imagery, and owes a duty of care to communicate abnormalities to physicians and patients.
- The referring physician: In many cases, the physician is given or shown the imagery he or she requested. They have the duty to timely and thoroughly inform the patient of the radiologists finds.
When it comes to properly interpreting imagery, communication failures and failure to notice abnormalities in images are common roots of medical malpractice. Patients can suffer unnecessarily, wrong treatments can be ordered and administered, and conditions can go untreated even to the point of patient death.