An accurate understanding of how complex diagnostic tests are performed and interpreted is the responsibility of radiologists and other medical professionals. Examples of such tests are MRIs, X-rays, mammograms, CAT scans, ultrasounds, EEGs, and EKGs. Medical professionals use these tests to find evidence of cancer, fractured bones, and other illnesses and injuries. If a medical professional is negligent in this area, the effects on a patient’s life can be devastating. The patient may have a life-threatening disease and not receive treatment in a timely manner.
Cause of Radiology Errors
The failure of a radiologist or diagnostic technician to read tests results properly can at times mean the difference between life and death. This is particularly the case when the patient suffers from cancer, strokes, brain injuries, aortic aneurysms, and other conditions that are serious.
The occurrence of radiology errors can easily happen when a radiologist or diagnostic technician:
- Does not use proper imaging techniques
- Do not properly interpret results
- Fails to give appropriate recommendations about follow-up treatment
- Does not check the prior radiologic results of the patient
- Do not comply with the correct departmental policies
- Do not receive the correct or the information is inadequate from the patient’s physician
A mammogram is used to detect the presence of breast cancer. A technician may perform either a screening mammogram or an intensive diagnostic mammogram if a lump or another risk factor for breast cancer was discovered. After an X-ray has been taken a radiologist then reads the X-ray to detect lumps, masses, and any other possible warning sign of cancer.
When reading X-rays, a physician needs to maintain a high level of focus. A patient’s history and risk for breast cancer needs to be reviewed, the results of the X-ray carefully read, previous X-ray results reviewed, and additional diagnostic tests ordered if an X-ray has raised concerns.
X-rays are used to detect medical problems such as broken bones, fractures, lung cancer, and pneumonia. When X-rays are not properly read, patients could suffer serious injuries, possibly even death. Misreading X-rays can create problems such as:
- Failing to timely or properly treat broken bones
- Failing to diagnose a cancerous tumor
- Failing to diagnose illness, organ damage, or disease
When a medical malpractice case involves the failure to properly read and X-ray, the X-ray itself is a vital component to the case. Experts will be retained to so that the failure of the radiologist was the result of negligence. Evidence will need to be gathered about the patient’s medical expenses, lost income, and other damages.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a physician negligently reading an X-ray or mammogram, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
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