Radiology Errors and Malpractice Lawsuits

radiology errors

Radiology is the use of imaging technology to take pictures of the inside of the body for the purpose of identifying disease. The diagnostic radiologist uses their training to interpret the images they take to diagnose illness and disease. It is very important for radiologists to be competent at their job because a radiology error can lead to a failure to diagnose or treat disease in a timely manner.

If you or a loved one was harmed as a result of a radiology error, contact a local medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your legal rights

Consequences of radiology diagnostic errors

Patients and doctors depend on accurate test results for diagnosing health issues. When a radiologist misses a diagnosis of cancer or another serious illness that appears on the test, patients may be harmed through delayed diagnosis and treatment. When a radiologist makes an incorrect diagnosis, the health condition may get worse for weeks or months until the patient is able to get a correct diagnosis. In some cases, the opposite scenario happens where a patient is incorrectly diagnosed with a disease that they don’t have, which can lead to unnecessary treatment. In particular, an incorrect cancer diagnosis can be devastating because it can lead to unnecessary chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

How common are radiology errors?

The average error rate for radiology errors is between 3-5% per year; a rate that hasn’t changed very much in the last several decades. If a particular year has an error rate of 4%, that translates to 40 million radiology errors out of the 1 billion scans that are performed around the world every year. Diagnostic errors, including the failure to diagnose or communicate any concerns in a test result to the patient promptly, are by far the most common cause of malpractice suits against radiologists (75%). Most failure to diagnose cases are brought against a radiologist who has failed to properly identify signs of disease on an x-ray, mammogram, MRI, or CT scan. Failure to diagnose lung cancer or breast cancer are the most common types of diagnostic negligence claims brought against radiologists.

Approximately 31% of radiologists are sued for a mistake over the course of their careers. Our Seattle malpractice lawyers handle lawsuits against radiologists who have harmed patients after missing evidence of disease that other qualified and prudent radiologists would not have missed.

Types of radiology errors

There are four types of radiology errors that lead to patient harm:

  1. Perception error. A perception error is simply when a radiologist doesn’t see what they should have seen on the test results. This can lead to a failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis.
  2. Knowledge error. A knowledge error is when the radiologist doesn’t have the base of experience and knowledge to understand or interpret the test results accurately.
  3. Communication error. Radiologists are required to dictate a report of their findings and make sure that the patient or referring doctor has been notified of the findings. In the case of mammograms, radiologists are required to communicate directly with a patient. In a communication error, the radiologist fails to notify the patient or referring doctor of the test results, either ever or in a timely manner.
  4. Medication error. A medication error is when a prescription drug is either prescribed or administered incorrectly – often due to a communication breakdown. The most common medication errors involving radiology patients are getting the incorrect dose or drug, not getting the drug they need, or not getting the drug correctly.

The Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers You Want on Your Side

The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys.