Diagnostic Errors by Radiologists Alarmingly Common

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers discuss misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis by radiologists. Diagnostic errors can have serious consequences for patients. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition can prevent treatment from reaching patients in a timely manner and may do irreparable damage.

Often these errors can occur in radiology, where a patient’s scans are read and interpreted. A recent report reveals that radiology error is a factor in 15 percent of diagnosis-related medical malpractice cases.

This percentage puts claims naming radiologists just behind those involving general practitioners, which are the most frequent type of diagnostic error claim. Approximately 80 percent of these claims allege that the radiologist misinterpreted the results of clinical tests and failed to notify patients of a health hazard. In many cases, care teams failed to follow up with patients on abnormal test results, resulting in a delay of their treatment.

Misinterpretation of Scans May Delay Cancer Treatment

The most common diagnostic error in radiology cases involves a failed cancer diagnosis. Breast, lung, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer, most of which are among the deadliest forms of cancer, were the most frequently seen in these cases.

Experts agree that early diagnosis is crucial for successful cancer treatment, and a delayed diagnosis due to misinterpreted test results can have a profound impact on a patient’s survival.

Preventing Radiology Errors

The report, published by Boston-based insurer Coverys, included some recommendations on how to prevent radiology errors and better protect patients from harm. Among them was a set of criteria that would automatically trigger a film for a second read, as well as a time frame in which the second read would take place and a clear confirmation of its completion.

The report also suggests modifying some of the language used in reporting results and removing ambivalent language such as “consistent with” or “likely represents” that could be misinterpreted.

Radiologists may be prone to certain biases when reading scans, so the authors also recommend a checklist to ensure nothing is ruled out prematurely and radiologists need not rely on memory to make a full determination. Finally, healthcare facilities should be sure to keep up with the latest technological advances and have regular check-ins with their employees to ensure that best practices are being followed.

In more than 80 percent of the missed diagnosis cases involving a radiologist, the patient suffered permanent injuries or died as a result of their delayed diagnosis. Patients rely on radiologists to provide accurate information, so that they can get the care they need. When they fail to do so, patients may be sent down the wrong treatment path, or not receive any treatment at all, for what could be a deadly condition.

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP Obtain Compensation for Victims of Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

If you or a loved one has suffered due to radiologist error, call the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. Our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case and hold those responsible for your suffering accountable for their negligence. With offices conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, we help misdiagnosis victims and their families throughout New Jersey. Call us today at 732-777-0100 or contact us online for a free consultation.