X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other common radiology tests can give otherwise nervous patients in North Carolina a sense of peace. But just how accurate are these tests? Or perhaps more importantly, how accurately are radiologists reading the results? A recent report found that radiologists contribute to 15 percent of diagnosis medical malpractice claims.
Coverys — a medical liability insurer — analyzed 10,000 claims that were closed from 2013 to 2017. Nearly 600 individual radiologists were cited among these claims and were the second most commonly cited professionals in diagnostic error claims, coming in behind general practitioners. Of all the claims involving radiologists, 80 percent cited the misinterpretation of test results.
Missed cancer diagnoses were the most common type of test result misinterpretation claims. Among these, breast, ovarian, lung and pancreatic cancers were the most common. Diagnostic errors that miss serious health issues can have tragic implications for victims, many of whom miss out on crucial opportunities for early intervention and treatment options. This often has high-severity results, such as permanent grave or significant injury, and even death.
North Carolina patients who are proactive about their health and see their doctors regularly likely assume that they will not be affected by a missed diagnosis, but being proactive does not mean much when a radiologist misreads test results. When patients suffer serious health implications and injury because of a health care professional’s negligence, they can usually choose to seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. When successfully pursued to completion, patients can utilize any resulting recourse for their related medical care, financial losses and other related damages.