What is Radiology Malpractice?

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A RADIOLOGIST?

A radiologist is a medical specialist who has been trained to read and interpret the results of medical images, such as MRIs, CTs, and x-rays. A radiologist works in conjunction with other physicians who request imaging tests. For instance, if a primary care physician orders a chest x-ray, the radiologist will read and interpret the results of the x-ray, and then return those interpretations and results to the primary physician.

WHAT IS RADIOLOGY MALPRACTICE?

There are two types of radiology malpractice: misreading an image and failure to communicate with the consulting physician. 75% of lawsuits against radiologists come from one of these two situations.

Misreading an Image

The most common form of radiology malpractice is due to diagnostic errors – the failure to correctly read or interpret the medical image.

At times, when examining test results, a radiologist can “miss” a vital finding or may focus on one type of medical condition over another.

For instance, a primary physician may request a chest x-ray of a patient to rule out pneumonia. When the radiologist looks for pneumonia, the image is clear of that illness. However, during examination of the x-ray, the radiologist may overlook a mass. Later, the patient is determined to have lung cancer as a result of that mass. The radiologist, therefore, can be found negligent in evaluating the initial x-ray.

Frequently missed diagnoses include breast and lung cancer, vascular disease, and aneurysms.

Communication Failure

The second most common type of radiology malpractice occurs when a radiologist and a referring physician miscommunicate. This can occur when a radiologist does not provide test results to the physician or fails to mention concerns about the patient’s imaging. It can also occur when the physician fails to read the radiologist’s full report and overlooks details about the evaluation of the scan.

Radiologists and physicians are required by medical malpractice law to communicate effectively not only with each other, but also with their patients.

WHEN SHOULD I SEE AN ATTORNEY?

Radiology malpractice cases can be quite difficult, with complex medical and legal details.  If you believe that the health of you or a loved one was jeopardized as a result of radiology malpractice, contact an attorney as soon as possible.

In the instance of misreading an image, an attorney will make the case, with the help of medical expert witnesses, that any other competent radiologist would have noticed an abnormality in the medical image.

If miscommunication between physicians is the issue, at least one of the two doctors – the radiologist or the referring physician – will be liable for the damage. Courts can also decide to penalize both physicians in a given case.

If you believe that you have a radiology malpractice case resulting in injury or death, contact us at 740.374.5346 or use our convenient contact form.

 

Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice Claims

For the most part, physicians work hard to care for their patients, and they always have their patients’ best interests at heart. However, sometimes doctors make mistakes. When those mistakes lead to serious consequences, injury, or death, a patient may choose to file a lawsuit against the physician for the harm he or she suffered. In the United States, there are a variety of reasons why a patient may file a malpractice claim, but some types of lawsuits are more common than others.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Not all bad outcomes are the result of malpractice. There are instances where treatments lead to unexpected outcomes or a patient suffers unintended and unforeseeable complications. There are times treatments are ineffective despite a physician’s best efforts. However, when an adverse medical outcome has a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life, the issue of malpractice comes up.

Malpractice in Ohio must meet three specific criteria to be eligible for compensation:

A Deviation from the Standard of Care – A medical standard of care refers to the industry standard expected of medical professionals within the same field of expertise. Of course, the expected standard differs from one type of health professional to another.

Causation of Injury or Death –  The deviation from the standard of care is not sufficient by itself. That deviation must be the cause of the ultimate damage suffered.

Damages – Damages must occur for there to be an applicable case. Damages are the monetary and physical losses a patient endures, such as medical costs, pain, and suffering. Without damages, there is no reason to file a malpractice claim.

Exploring the Common Causes of Malpractice

Knowing that physicians almost never intentionally cause harm, you might wonder what the cause of malpractice is if there is no bad intention. Medical malpractice on the part of a doctor or other healthcare professional must involve negligence, such as using the wrong dosage of a medication or failure to diagnose the proper disease and treat it accordingly. Most malpractice claims arise out of issues with communication. Whether it was the physician’s inability to communicate with their patient effectively, or the doctor was too busy to gather the necessary information, these communication breakdowns can lead to devastating accidents.

Inpatient Malpractice Errors

A vast majority of malpractice claims arise in the inpatient setting. These malpractice types include:

Surgical Errors – Whether it is operating on the wrong site to leaving surgical instruments in the body, surgical errors account for one-third of all malpractice claims filed in the United States by patients. Most surgical errors are preventable errors, known as never-events.

Anesthesia – Another common injury is from anesthesia, whether the patient suffers a preventable reaction or is not monitored properly when given the medication. These injuries might lead to permanent brain damage or death.

Outpatient Medical Malpractice Errors

Outpatient procedures do not happen in the hospital. Instead, they occur in a physician’s office, clinic, or an outpatient surgical center. The most common outpatient injuries include:

Failure to Diagnose – In this case, the doctor fails to diagnose and treat the patient appropriately. As a result, the patient could suffer from a chronic illness and pain, or be too far advanced in his or her disease to receive treatment when it is finally diagnosed.

Misdiagnosis – In this case, the patient is diagnosed but with the wrong condition, such as being diagnosed with heartburn when the patient was actually suffering from a heart attack.

Medication Errors – Sometimes doctors prescribe the wrong medicine or the incorrect dosage.

Childbirth Injuries

Childbirth is demanding on the human body, and many physicians are too busy to prevent errors in childbirth. Approximately 20% of medical malpractice claims are filed against OB/GYNs.

Medication Errors

Medication errors might occur at the doctor’s office or a pharmacy. Whether it is the incorrect dosage amounts or the wrong medication given to the patient, these errors cause more than 1.5 million injuries each year in the United States.

Contact Ethan Vessels

When you have a medical malpractice claim, you need an attorney who will advocate for you. Ethan Vessels, of Fields, Dehmlow, & Vessels is a medical malpractice attorney who can help. Contact him today to discuss your claim by calling 740-374-5346 or by filling out our online contact form.