Radiology: x-rays, ultrasound, CT, MRI

Radiology is a specialty field in medicine with a focus on the interpretation of diagnostic films. These films include CT (CAT) scans, MRI, x-rays, ultrasounds, mammograms, sonograms, and other methods of imaging. Radiologists are often called in to review these scans for injured parties for diagnosis of internal injury, bleeding, or fractures. Errors in reading X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans are very common. When radiologists misread or incorrectly interpret films, the patient can suffer severe consequences. 

The statistics for radiology errors are grim. "Malpractice Issues in Radiology” (a panel discussion on December 2, 2010, at the annual meeting of the RSNA in Chicago, Illinois Leonard Berlin, MD, FACR), radiologist Leonard Berlin reviewed reports showing the error rate among radiologists to be approximately 30 percent. Of these errors, according to Chambersburg Imaging Associates (CIA), roughly 80 percent are errors of perception. Put simply, the images reveal an abnormality in the patient, but the radiologist fails to detect it. 

It has been estimated that over 12% of the 2,000 radiology errors last year resulted in some degree of harm to the patient. The radiologist's review is crucial to the patient's welfare as the entire course of treatment is largely determined by the interpretation of radiology results. Radiologists are generally the first line of defense against serious illness and disease. 

The failure of radiologists to detect clear abnormalities on diagnostic film can lead to a failure to diagnose, address, or treat:

  • Lung, breast, and other types of cancer are often first detected with the observable data provided by such scans. As with all illnesses, but especially with cancer, timeliness means everything. 
  • Brain injuries or TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) are time-sensitive. To provide continual care, scans are employed to check for condition status updates and whether treatment(s) are working progressively. 
  • Brain tumors are instances where precise knowledge is necessary, especially if this illness requires surgical removal. Any misstep can cause irreparable damage and possibly even death.
  • Abdominal injuries require scanning for visualization of the exact location of damage.
  • Warning signs of stroke can be detected and further damage prevented by proper utilization of medical scans. 
  • Infections and inflammations can be seen with precision to circumvent potential internal organ involvement. 
  • Internal injuries and disorders

Radiology errors involving pregnant women can lead to otherwise preventable birth injuries such as mental retardation and possibly even infant death.

Testing is one of the initial steps in any diagnosis. It is of the utmost importance that the radiology staff be knowledgeable and proficient in their abilities. Communication skills are also vital as life-saving data need to be provided in a clear, concise manner. If you or a loved one has experienced injury due to radiological (and other scan testing) errors you may be entitled to financial compensation for the damages incurred by these mistakes. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let our experts review the facts. You may have a medical malpractice case. If we decide to accept your case, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee for representation unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds made on your behalf.