Common Causes of Radiology Malpractice

Common Causes of Radiology Malpractice

Thousands of patients suffer harm in the United States and California as the result of medical errors and negligence, leading to claims of medical malpractice. One source of medical error may be the failure to make a timely and accurate diagnosis, which is necessary so that a patient can be treated as soon as possible, and have the greatest chance at a positive outcome. Making that diagnosis may depend on receiving accurate information from the radiology department, which oversees many diagnostic tests such as MRIs, x-rays, and CT scans. A recent study found that interpretation errors and communication failures are two of the largest issues that lead to malpractice claims in radiology. The research determined that by finding ways to improve these areas, overall patient care could be improved.

The authors of the study reviewed more than 1000 radiologic medical malpractice claims, of which roughly 60% were based on the failure to diagnose a condition or disease. Of these, 48% were the result of a misinterpretation of the data which then led to a delay in diagnosis. Many times, as a result of a delay, the window of opportunity to treat a patient closes, diminishing a patient's chances for optimal recovery.

To reduce these errors, the authors suggests peer review, continued education and more oversight - especially where the identification of concerns is left to non-radiologists. Another area of concern was poor communication. Roughly 25% of the errors were the result of communication errors, either between the radiologist and the provider, or the radiologist and the patients. As a result of the transfer of details, important information concerning proper testing, results and follow-up may be missed.

As San Diego medical malpractice lawyers we are dedicated to improving patient safety. If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of radiologic malpractice, please contact the experienced San Diego radiology malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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