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What Are Common Radiology Errors?

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Updated August 23, 2020 | Medical Malpractice |

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Have you ever had an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, PET scan, or mammogram? If so, you have worked with a radiologist.

Radiology is a highly specialized field requiring years of study and practice, and radiologists are a crucial part of the medical diagnosis team. They use medical imaging technology to test for a variety of conditions and diseases, interpreting the results for physicians and often recommending treatment.

However, mistakes in administering radiology tests, interpreting results, or diagnosing conditions can lead to serious medical consequences.

What Are Different Types of Radiology Errors?

Mistakes such as misreading a diagnostic image or missing an abnormality in the film are classified as radiology errors. Such errors are categorized into four types: cognitive, perceptual, communication, and radiation.

Cognitive Errors

Part of a radiologist’s responsibility is to identify and understand abnormalities in diagnostic imaging film. If they view the film but misread the findings or miss the importance of what they see, it is described as a cognitive error. Viewing an abnormal test as normal or a normal test as abnormal falls under this category.

Perceptual Errors

Perceptual errors occur when a radiologist does not accurately identify any abnormalities—in other words, when they miss what is in the film. This type of error can include situations such as a radiologist missing cancer cells, an aneurysm, or brain bleeding. It can also take place if they find one abnormality and then stop searching for others.

Communication Errors

After a radiologist administers a test and studies the results, they share those interpretations with the patient’s primary physician. If errors are included in the report or if recommendations for treatment are not adequately explained, the miscommunication could result in an incorrect or delayed diagnosis.

Radiation Errors

If safety precautions are not followed, a patient could be exposed to too much radiation. Radiologists are required to cover body parts that are not being examined, and the room must be shielded to prevent overexposure. Additionally, an improperly calibrated or faulty machine could cause an excess of radiation.

The effects of radiation exposure can take several years to appear in a patient.

Can Radiology Errors Lead to Medical Malpractice?

Doctors aren’t the only healthcare professions who can be sued for medical malpractice—nurses, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, and even hospitals may also be at fault. Radiologists, too, have a responsibility to provide patients with the best possible care.

Radiology errors can result in a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or incorrect treatment. If a patient had complications as a result of a radiology test being misplaced, misread, or misinterpreted, it might be considered medical malpractice.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact an Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorney from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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