Radiology Errors – Oregon Medical Malpractice

Radiologists are medical doctors who generally diagnose and screen for disease or injury through the use of medical imaging devices.  Common medical imaging devices include MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CTs (computed tomography), positron emission tomography (PET), ultrasounds, and X-rays.

 

Some radiologists also treat diseases like cancer through use of radiation or image guided surgery.  Most patients never meet their radiologists as many radiologists work off-site and communicate their findings to the patient’s treating doctor.  They also can suggest additional testing and procedures to the patient’s treating doctor.

Common Causes of Radiological Malpractice

The most common type of radiological medical malpractice occurs when a radiologist fails to diagnose a disease or injury or fails to communicate his or her findings to the patient’s physician.  In many medical malpractice cases, radiologists have failed to diagnose cancer, improperly interpreted a medical image, and have missed evidence of a disease or serious fracture.  Below is an explanation of some of the more frequent mistakes made by radiologists.

 

Failure to communicate:  Radiologists may actually detect and correctly diagnose an injury or disease when reviewing the imaging, but then fail to communicate it to the physician.  While most radiologists write reports of their findings, some forget to do so or the reports are sent to the wrong doctor or placed in the wrong patient’s file.

 

Failure to supervise other medical staff:  The radiologist is usually not involved in the actual administration of an MRI, X-Ray, or CT scan.  Generally, this is done by technicians, nursing staff, or physician’s assistants.  After the image of the patient is taken, it is then sent to the radiologist who usually works off-site and reviews the image.  If the medical assistant taking the imaging has obtained a poor image of the site or taken an image of the wrong site (such as taking an image of the left lung when the right lung is the actual lung presenting symptoms) and the radiologist does not do a thorough enough job to determine this or request additional imaging, serious medical harm can occur.

 

Unthorough review of medical imaging:  Currently, there is a shortage of radiologists and as such, there is a great deal of work for radiologists to complete.  Radiologists must fully concentrate on each image they review with the attention necessary to detect the suspected disease or injury.  If a radiologist does not take a sufficient number of breaks per day to refresh his or her focus or is simply given too many images to review in a period of time, they may fail to recognize signs of a disease or injury.

Radiologist’s Failure to Diagnose Cancer

One of the most common claims against radiologists occurs when they fail to diagnose cancer.  In breast cancer cases, radiologists have failed to report or detect lesions in the breasts or lungs which appear in the imaging.  In particularly egregious cases, radiologists have missed lesions appearing over several years during a patient’s yearly mammogram.  A radiologist’s failure to interpret these lesions or to recommend additional testing can cause significant harm to breast cancer patients.  Timely diagnosis of cancer is an important factor in treating a cancer patient.  Generally, a breast cancer patient diagnosed in the early stages of cancer has more treatment options available and greater likelihood of success if the cancer is caught early.

Oregon Radiology Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or a loved one has suffered serious harm as a result of a radiology mistake, contact the Minnesota radiology medical malpractice lawyers at Kuhlman Law, LLC for a free initial consultation at (541) 385-1999.  If we accept your case, we will help you find the answers that you are looking for and will fight to obtain the compensation you need for your medical bills and to move forward with your life.

 

We handle cases throughout Oregon including: Bend, Portland, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Medford, Deschutes County, Central Oregon, Sisters, Redmond, Lake Oswego, Hillsboro, Multnomah County, Washington County, Hood River, The Dalles, Clackamas County, Oregon City, Jefferson County, Crook County, Coos Bay, Lane County, Douglas County, Yamhill County, Tillamook County, Clatsop, Columbia Klamath, Wasco, Madras, Prineville, Crook, Lane, Pendleton, Umatilla, La Grande, Albany, and Vancouver, Washington.

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