While advances in medicine have helped refine medical processes and procedures, diagnostic errors are still common. A recent study of diagnostic errors shows that diagnostic errors affect an estimated 12 million Americans. These errors cause more harm to patients than all other medical errors combined.
Despite not receiving much attention, radiology errors are devastating, and they are also increasingly common. Radiology has attained a prominent position in the medical practice with increasing involvement in the clinical management of patients over the last few decades.
Radiologists play a critical role in medical procedures by interpreting X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and other medical tests. Medical images interpretation errors by radiologists can lead to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of serious diseases resulting in lasting injury.
This article explores radiology errors in detail, how these errors occur, and the legal remedies for diagnostic error.
What is a Radiology Error?
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) gives the simplest diagnostic error definition as any mistake or failure in the diagnostic process leading to a misdiagnosis, a missed diagnosis, or a delayed diagnosis. The report says a diagnostic error can occur at any stage in the diagnostic process. About 40–54% of lawsuits involving medical negligence in radiology emanate from errors in diagnosis (failure to diagnose).
How Often Does It Happen?
There are over 1 billion radiologic imaging examinations done globally every year. Radiologists interpret the resulting images from these tests. From these interpretations, the average radiology error rate is between 3-5% per year.
Cumulatively, this is a global annual average of 40 million diagnostic errors. This paints a grave situation for patients in need of radiology services.
Causes of Diagnostic Errors in Radiology
Multiple factors influence the high prevalence of radiology diagnostic errors. Here’s a breakdown of these causes:
- Cognitive limitations: These are internal factors such as level of expertise, bias, state of mind (mood, illness, tiredness), and time. These can limit the doctor’s capacity to interpret the test images correctly. Radiologists are under a lot of pressure to keep up with their workloads, and they have to interpret multiple images in a short time. This increases the risk of error and contributes to an increase in radiologic technologist malpractice cases.
- External factors: such as (time and technology): There are other factors beyond the radiologist’s control such as communication, teamwork, technical failures, equipment failures, bottlenecks in testing processes, poor policies, and procedures.
Radiology or Diagnostic Errors in the Cleveland and/or Ohio Area
If you or a family member in Cleveland or the larger Ohio area has suffered an injury or any issue due to an interpretive error in radiology, talk to a negligence attorney immediately.
Radiology errors can fall into these categories:
- The failure to see abnormalities in test image results
- Wrong interpretation of test results
- The failure by a hospital to contact patients about test results
- Medication error
Diagnosis error lawsuits are a part of medical malpractice claims. Your lawyer in the Cleveland and/or Ohio areas will help research and collect all evidence to prove medical negligence in the radiology procedure.
A successful settlement awards damages to compensate for additional hospital bills in the future, loss of consortium, pain and suffering expenses, and wrongful death issues. Some settlements may also include civil fines or a loss of a medical license for the radiologist.
Diagnostic errors in radiology can devastate your life due to injury and financial loss. You need a highly experienced personal injury lawyer in Cleveland, OH, to handle your case.
Friedman, Domiano & Smith is the leading personal injury attorney in the areas with years of experience and a resourceful team of lawyers to handle clients.
Contact us today for a free consultation and get help for your medical malpractice claim.