Radiologists are a critical part of the medical diagnostic process. Radiologists use medical imaging such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and sonograms to diagnose patients and sometimes treat conditions. Because early diagnosis of some conditions can be critical to a patient’s health, errors by radiologists can be deadly. Improperly diagnosed conditions can lead to patients being left untreated or mistreated for a serious health condition. Common radiology errors include:
Errors in Reading Diagnostic Imaging
The most common radiologist error is a failure to diagnose properly. Radiologists review images from diagnostic tests to determine whether any abnormalities could be a sign of a health problem. These abnormalities can be anything from broken bones to cancerous tumors. In most radiology malpractice cases it is alleged that the radiologist misread or misinterpreted a scan. If a radiologist fails to read something like a cancerous tumor, it can lead to a delay in treatment or no treatment which can result in the unnecessary death of a patient or a worsening of the patient’s medical condition. The most frequently missed diagnoses include:
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Spinal fractures
- Vascular disease
Sometimes the scans obtained by a radiologist are not optimal or hard to read. If this is the case, the radiologist should ask for new scans. If the radiologist moves forward and interprets the poor quality scans, the reading could be wrong, and the diagnosis can be incorrect. This may amount to malpractice.
Failure to Properly Communicate with a Patient’s Physician
Other physicians rely on information from the radiologist when making their own diagnosis of a patient. Radiologists should immediately report harmful results to the patient’s doctor. If a radiologist merely notates the finding on the patient’s chart and doesn’t call attention to it, this could result in a delayed diagnosis. In addition, a failure by a radiologist to include a differential diagnosis along with his or her finding could result in a patient’s doctor not considering these possibilities when making their own diagnosis. Radiologists should mention any concerns that could lead to further diagnostic testing for the patient.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you have been injured as the result of a radiologist’s error, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice. Contact us onlineor call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.