The most prevalent cancer affecting women is breast cancer. When women go to have a mammography they expect that the assessment of the results will be accurate. Unfortunately this is sometimes not the case and failure to diagnose breast cancer can be fatal. Oftentimes when a radiologist does face a medical malpractice lawsuit it is for failure to diagnose breast cancer.
One study looked at 4793 medical malpractice claims filed against 2680 radiologists across 47 states. These claims were reported in the One-Call Medical network. This network compiles the malpractice histories of radiologists’ for the purpose of credentialing.
The most common missed diagnoses were for failure to detect a lesion on a mammography scan. As a result of not detecting any lesions no follow-up testing was recommended for the woman, which is another error which also led to medical malpractice lawsuits. Additionally, errors in diagnosis were more frequent than errors in communication. However there may a flaw in this aspect of the study since only radiologists who administer mammographies and engage in interventional radiology actually communicate with patients directly.
Additionally, it may be difficult for radiologist to spot lesions when they are examining dense breasts claims one researcher. A mammography has limitations when the breasts are dense. However the radiologist is still to blame even though the technique used has limitations.
Missing a diagnosis due to a dense breast is not a strong justification for missing the diagnosis. The standard of care for medical professions is that of an expert, not a layperson. Precision is required when scanning patients for symptoms of breast cancer. If a radiologist is not sure about the diagnosis after a mammography they should consider recommending additional testing.
The chances of survival of victims breast cancer is put in danger when a radiologist fails to diagnose or diagnosis is delayed. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be filed when a breast cancer victim has suffered due to failure to diagnose and the delayed treatment that results.
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