Medical Malpractice

Radiology Errors Lead to Numerous Medical Malpractice Claims

According to a recently published report, 15 percent of all medical malpractice claims relating to misdiagnoses involve radiologists. This means that radiologists are second only to general practitioners for the number of medical malpractice claims filed against them. In fact, between 2013 and 2017, 595 medical malpractice claims were filed against radiologists nationwide. Many of these claims alleged delayed and/or incorrect diagnoses on behalf of a radiologist.

Medical Malpractice In the report, a full 80 percent of missed diagnoses allegedly resulted from the misinterpretation of clinical tests. Breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer top the list for the most common types of cancers associated with misinterpretation of diagnostic tests. Other commonly missed medical issues include non vertebral and spinal fractures.

Lack of Follow-Up After Abnormal Test Results

Often times, the problem lies in the fact that there is little to no follow-up from radiology or the patient’s primary doctor following abnormal test results. This lack of follow-up can lead to significant injury for a patient. Roughly three-quarters of all claims alleging misdiagnosis involve permanent injury or death.

As an example, consider the case of a patient who visits his doctor with flu-like symptoms. The doctor, believing the patient does have the flu, orders a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. The radiologist fails to notice a small mass on the patient’s lung, declaring the x-ray “normal.” A year later, the patient learns that the small mass was the first stage of lung cancer. Because the radiologist failed to identify the mass, treatment was delayed and the life expectancy of the patient was significantly compromised.

Making Changes to Avoid Missed Diagnoses 

To avoid these types of diagnostic errors, changes that will help radiologists avoid dangerous and deadly errors need to occur. Here are just a few recommendations outlined by the report:

  • Reading the diagnostic test a second time
  • Identifying a specific time frame for a second read
  • Using clear, concise language
  • Avoiding interpretive phrases

Radiologists issue dozens of reports daily, which means that the message from a radiologist may not be delivered to the proper party or in an appropriate amount of time. Such breakdowns in communication can easily lead to a medical malpractice claim, and must be addressed within the medical industry.

If you have been harmed by diagnostic errors or misdiagnosis, you should immediately contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can properly address these injuries while simultaneously defending your rights. Your attorney will need to begin investigating your incident closely to determine if you even have cause to file a medical malpractice claim.

Has a Radiology Error Caused You Harm?

At Zimmet & Zimmet, our medical malpractice lawyers know that radiology errors can result in significant harm to patients and their families. Proving medical malpractice takes extensive investigation and a skilled legal team. From the moment you are injured, we will begin building a case that is designed to collect the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured by a medical error, we can help. Contact us today at (386) 255-6400 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.

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Top Causes of Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits 101

Medical Malpractice

Top Causes of Medical Malpractice Claims

Not every bad medical outcome will result in a claim of medical malpractice. After all, there are many times when a specific course of treatment causes unexpected side effects or is simply ineffective. Other times, a poor medical outcome is the direct result of the failure by a medical professional to meet a reasonable standard of care. A mistake or diagnostic error due to this type of negligence can result in serious injury, and sometimes even death. Unfortunately, medical malpractice cases are amongst the most difficult and complex because they involve establishing the “standard of care.”

Medical Malpractice

 

Standard of care depends on the medical issue at hand. So, for example, the type of treatment a majority of heart surgeons would recommend for their heart patients becomes the standard of care for heart issues. A surgeon who leaves an instrument inside a patient after surgery has obviously violated the accepted standard of care for surgeons. If, on the other hand, you agreed to a new procedure that did not result in the outcome you had hoped for, there is no violation of the accepted standard of care.

Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim 

Those who win a medical malpractice claim will likely be awarded monetary damages that cover medical expenses, lost wages and rehabilitation costs. In some cases, non-economic damages are also awarded for things like loss of quality of life, as well as pain and suffering. If the negligence or lack of care was willful and particularly egregious, then punitive damages could also be awarded.

What Are the Top Causes of Medical Malpractice Claims?

 Misdiagnoses and failures to diagnose are some of the top causes of medical malpractice claims. Perhaps a woman goes to her doctor after feeling a small lump in her breast. The doctor assures her it is “nothing,” and sends her on her way. A year later, the woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and is now likely to have a worse outcome than if she had received treatment a year ago. This is a clear case of failure to diagnose.

The most common causes of medical malpractice claims include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication errors
  • Birth errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Radiology errors

The most common reason medical malpractice occurs, however, lies in miscommunication. When doctors and other health care professionals fail to communicate, medical malpractice can – and often does – result. Hospitals may be liable for medical malpractice if they fail to maintain their medical equipment or a clean, germ-free environment. They may also be held liable for medical malpractice if they administrators fail to ensure staff members are adequately trained.

Do You Believe You Are the Victim of Medical Malpractice?

If you believe that you are the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as quickly as possible to ensure that your rights – and your future – are fully protected. At Zimmet & Zimmet, we have the resources and the experience to tackle such large and complex medical cases. Contact us today at (386) 255-6400 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.

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Getting a Second Opinion

Tips to Recover in a Medical Malpractice Claim