What is the most common cause of malpractice for radiologists?

In radiology, the most common cause of medical malpractice lawsuits is failure to diagnose. The number one diagnosis is breast cancer. Lung cancer and fractures are the second and third missed diagnoses, respectively.

However, there is another problem that is slowly creeping upwards, and that is a failure to communicate, e.g., referring physicians do not receive radiology reports, or physicians do receive the report but don’t tell the patient. The failure to communicate can result in delayed diagnoses. Why does this happen so frequently?

The lack of communication can often be blamed on the volume of work that radiologists must do today. However, 28 percent of radiologists call the referring physician when there is a significant, unexpected finding. According to one physician who oversees the Radiology Department at Skokie Hospital, “That’s the problem. That’s where the lawsuits occur.”

When a patient does not receive the right diagnosis, his or her treatment and care is not going to be right, either. When this occurs, it is important to document everything so that you have a written record of what occurred.

If you are the family member of a patient who suffered ill effects because of a failure to diagnose or failure to communicate, you should also write down everything. These issues can then be gone over with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice does not just emerge in the form of failure to diagnose, though. Medication errors, doctor’s errors, hospital negligence and much more are possible. Don’t let a failure to diagnose lawsuit get swept away and hidden. Put the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney to work as soon as you can.

Source: Diagnostic Imaging, “Failure to Diagnose and Communicate in Radiology,” Liza Haar, Sep. 15, 2016

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