Radiologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries through the use of medical imaging techniques, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds. These professionals provide care in several ways, inducing assisting doctor in ordering studies and interpreting the studies after they have been ordered and performed. In addition, radiologists who have gone through additional training are called interventional radiologists. This type of radiologists also treats a condition order disease with minimally-invasive surgery through image guidance or radiation.
There are about 350 million radiographic procedures performed every year in the United States. More than fifty percent of these procedures are done outside of hospitals (in offices of private physicians) and most are not interpreted by trained radiologists.
Regardless of the patient’s health problem, the outcome for patients is dependent on a prompt and accurate diagnosis. If a radiologist makes an inaccurate diagnosis it can result in misdiagnosis and delay effective treatment of conditions such as broken bones, cancer, or stroke.
There are some primary care physicians and internists who have x-ray machines in their offices. When these professionals read the x-ray films themselves rather than sending them out to be ready by a radiologist, mistakes can be made.
The role radiologists play in patient care is important as they are a conduit for information about a patient that the naked eye cannot see. Medical imaging allows a radiologist to identify many different problems. However, radiologists can also be negligent. For example, they may miss a small tumor or mistakenly attribute an abnormality in the lung. When the appropriate tests are not ordered by the radiologist or the tests are not interpreted properly, the radiologist may be liable for medical malpractice.
Common mistakes radiologists make include:
- Interpreting an abnormal study as normal or a normal study as abnormal;
- Failure to diagnose an aneurysm;
- Failure to diagnose a bone fracture;
- Failure to diagnose cancer;
- Misreading x-rays or mammograms;
- Failure to recognize symptoms of a brain bleed;
- Failure to recognize bowel obstruction; and
- Administering inappropriately high dosages of radiation.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of radiology malpractice due to the failure of a radiologist to properly administer or read and x-ray, CT scan, or another radiological image or technology, or injured as a result of any other negligence that involves radiology, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.
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