Radiology is a branch of medicine that uses radiant energy and radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases within a person’s body. Through the use of radiological equipment such as x-rays, ultrasounds, sonograms, mammograms, CT scans, and MRIs, a radiologist should be able to provide a doctor with an in-depth view of what could be causing a patient’s discomfort, pain, illness ,or potentially life-threatening condition. Without radiologists, many internal injuries might be overlooked, and more patients could become victims of medical malpractice.
An Error Is Not Always Grounds for Malpractice
Unfortunately, while most doctors and patients rely on radiologists and technicians to be very accurate in their evaluations and interpretations, errors do happen. As the National Institute of Health states, “Radiology involves decision-making under conditions of uncertainty, and therefore cannot always produce infallible interpretations or reports.” On the other hand, when radiologists fail to properly read or interpret images, it can have a devastating effect on a person’s health.
For example, failing to identify a tumor or mass in a CT-scan or x-ray could result in a delayed cancer diagnosis. In addition, incorrectly determining the type of tumor or stage of cancer may lead to an insufficiently aggressive treatment. This could then lead to the patient not receiving the medical care needed until it is too late. Incorrectly evaluating a radiological report can also cause a doctor to issue an improper diagnosis or fail to take action in administering lifesaving treatment.
With the proper tests, a radiologist should be able to identify:
- Broken bones
- Cracked vertebrae
- Internal bleeding
- Pulmonary embolisms
- Tumors and suspect masses
Communication Between Doctors and Radiologists Is Key
Radiologists must communicate their findings in a timely fashion – patients’ lives often depend upon it. As long as physicians, radiologists, and other specialists coordinate smoothly for the benefit of their patients, the chances for these types of errors and mistakes can be significantly reduced. This, in turn, would also lower the risk of medical malpractice and catastrophic consequences stemming from radiology errors.
How to Determine If a Radiology Error Has Been Made
When you go to a doctor’s office or hospital due to an injury, illness, or ailment, it is reasonable for you to expect the doctors, nurses, and other medical professional entrusted with diagnosing and treating you to provide the accepted standard of care. If you have recently been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, disease, or condition for which you earlier sought diagnosis and treatment, it is possible a radiology error occurred. It could also be you were the victim of some other form of medical negligence. Either way, it is important you immediately retain legal counsel to protect your rights.
Contact Carey, Danis & Lowe Today
If you believe a radiology error resulted in you receiving an incorrect or delayed diagnosis, our firm can help. Contact Carey, Danis & Lowe today and have a skilled Missouri medical malpractice attorney review your case and advise you of your right to file a lawsuit or claim to seek compensatory damages.