A radiologist is a type of medical professional who has the skill, training, and knowledge to film, observe, and assess medical images. These professionals are most commonly known for looking at x-rays, but they can also look at other imaging studies such as MRIs.
More specifically, a radiologist’s job requires him or her to take the imaging. This may be done by a technician, but in other offices or facilities the radiologist may do it himself or herself. Once the imaging is complete, the radiologist will review the image for signs of abnormalities such as damage, fractures, tears, breaks, swelling, or other problems. The radiologist will then create an impression and forward that to the ordering physician.
Therefore, it is clear that if a radiologist makes a mistakes in either obtaining the image, reviewing the image, or formulating and impression of the image, this can set off a chain reaction of other problems for other physicians. Even if the radiologist makes the proper finding, failing to relay that information to the ordering physician in the proper manner can also result in medical malpractice. Indeed, one of the largest causes of medical malpractice is communication, and if the radiologist fails to properly do his or her job, it can result in communication mistakes.
For instance, if a radiologist fails to diagnose a spinal fracture which is clearly apparent, the patient will have a long and prolonged path to recovery which is unnecessary. It can also result in serious damage to the neighboring structures, including the other bones, blood vessels, or even the spinal cord. Injuries to the spinal cord can result in debilitating injury and paralysis.
In addition, if a radiologist fails to get the proper imaging study for a physician prior to surgery, this could end up misleading the surgeon and resulting in addition and further injuries. The imaging studies need to be done accurately, clearly, and without issues so other medical providers relying on those imaging studies can do their job too.
This is why medical imaging is a very important job in a hospital and why radiologists, while not the primary physician rendering care, provide a very important and crucial role to all other healthcare providers. Negligence here can result in negligence throughout the patient’s care and treatment.
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