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:
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