Radiologists are doctors specially trained to interpret the results of medical imaging devices, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, x-rays, and computed tomography. These tests can result in life-saving medical care and treatment for patients. However, when a radiologist misreads the results from an imaging test, it can seriously harm the patient.
When a radiologist misinterprets the results or passes along incomplete information, the physician and the radiologist could be liable for any adverse medical consequences. As a patient, you may have the right to sue your Florida radiologist for medical malpractice after a misdiagnosis. Our experienced Florida misdiagnosis attorney will address this situation in more detail below.
The Role of Radiologists in Florida Hospitals and Medical Facilities
Radiologists are typically board-certified physicians trained in diagnosing injuries and diseases by interpreting scans from medical imaging equipment. A radiologist must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete a four-year residency in imaging and radiation, including specific training in radiation safety. Additionally, they must pass an extensive licensing examination. Radiologists generally work with primary care physicians, providing detailed reports on medical imaging tests.
Typically, your primary physician will order a test to assist in your diagnosis. The results are then forwarded to a radiologist, who will interpret the readings and report their findings to your doctor. These findings are critical to helping you get the care and treatment you need. Without the correct diagnosis, you may not receive critical and life-saving treatment.
For example, failure to diagnose cancer is one of the most serious mistakes a radiologist can make. Without a prompt and accurate diagnosis, cancer may spread to vital organs, reducing the likelihood of survival. At the very least, patients are often left with additional medical bills, lost income, and expenses due to a misdiagnosis. However, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can have far worse consequences, including permanent disability, impairment, and death.
What Types of Mistakes Do Radiologists Make?
Like all medical professionals, radiologists are prone to making mistakes due to being overworked or understaffed. The hospital or institution they work for may not have proper protocols to prevent mistakes, or the radiologist may cut corners to get through their workflow faster.
No matter how the mistake occurs, these errors can have serious consequences, such as delayed or incorrect diagnoses, inappropriate treatments, and patient harm. Understanding the types of mistakes that radiologists make can help healthcare organizations identify and address potential risks, improve patient safety, and enhance patients’ overall quality of care. It can also help patients identify when they may have been the victim of medical malpractice or hospital negligence.
Here are some mistakes a radiologist could make when interpreting and reading your imaging results.
- Failure to detect abnormalities or diseases that are present in the imaging, leading to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Misinterpretation or misreading of imaging results, such as mistaking normal structures for abnormal ones, or vice versa
- Inaccurate measurements of structures or lesions in the imaging
- Failure to communicate essential findings or recommendations to the patient or the referring physician in a timely and appropriate manner
- Inappropriate use of imaging techniques or protocols, leading to unnecessary radiation exposure or other risks to the patient
- Technical errors during the imaging process, such as inadequate image quality or artifacts that could obscure or distort the interpretation of the images
- Failure to recognize and address potential contraindications or risks associated with contrast or other imaging agents used in the procedure.
Suing for Medical Malpractice by Florida Radiologists
Accurately interpreting medical radiological images is critical in diagnosing and treating many injuries and diseases. Treating physicians and patients in Florida rely on radiologists to provide vital information regarding the patient’s current condition. If a radiologist makes an error or misreads a result, a patient could experience serious medical problems because the proper treatment might get delayed or ignored.
The radiologist could be held responsible when an unjustifiable medical mistake in Florida leads to injuries or harm. Like other medical professionals, radiologists are held to the same standard of care as physicians working in a similar environment.
Radiology Misdiagnosis and Florida Medical Malpractice
One of the most common mistakes made by Florida radiologists is misreading the results of a test. This includes misinterpreting the image or failing to notice an important abnormality or problem. Misinterpreting a patient’s test results could lead to a misdiagnosis or mistaken treatment. It is common for errors in interpreting imaging results to have severe consequences for a patient.
For example, imagine a patient receiving treatment for symptoms related to a heart attack. The treating physician orders a magnetic resonance imaging test to determine if the heart sustained any structural or tissue damage associated with the event. While focusing on the condition of the heart, the radiologist fails to notice a small abnormality around the lungs and does not include the abnormality in the test results or their comprehensive report. A year later, the patient is diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. The abnormality in the previous test was an early indication of developing cancerous tissue. If the radiologist had identified the abnormality, the patient’s prognosis would have been much more positive. The radiologist, in this situation, could be held liable for medical malpractice for a missed cancer diagnosis.
A misdiagnosis can occur even when a radiologist accurately interprets a medical imagining test. Clear and precise communication between a treating physician and the radiologist is paramount to developing an accurate diagnosis and determining the most beneficial treatment. A radiologist will likely interpret multiple tests on any given day and issue dozens of reports. Sometimes, even if the report is accurate, a communication breakdown occurs, and the physician does not obtain the information required or necessary to properly treat a patient.
In the example used above, the radiologist issues a preliminary report regarding the condition of the muscle and tissue surrounding the heart – the reason the doctor ordered the test. Imagine now that the radiologist noticed the abnormality and noted its appearance on the full report. However, the physician never reviews the full report, or the indication of the abnormality is buried deep inside the full test results. While the treating physician, in this instance, could be liable for failing to read the full report, the radiologist could be responsible for not proactively reporting the abnormality to the treating doctor.
The Legal Standard of Care for Florida Radiologists
To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you and your Florida legal team must establish that the radiologist owed you a duty of care and that their mistake was a negligent breach of that duty.
Every medical professional owes their patient a legal duty of care. However, they are not and cannot be held to the standard of perfection. To determine if your radiologist’s mistake was malpractice, your Florida medical negligence attorney must compare your radiologist’s actions to the accepted medical standard.
In the previous example, your medical malpractice attorney would have to show that a similarly trained radiologist working under the same conditions would have either noticed the abnormality or notified the treating physician.
How Can a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Help After a Radiology Error?
A radiology error can have devastating consequences for patients, ranging from delayed diagnoses to incorrect treatments and even severe injury or death. In these situations, it may be necessary to pursue legal action to seek compensation for damages and hold the responsible parties accountable.
This is where a Florida medical malpractice attorney can help. You need to hire a lawyer with experience representing victims of medical malpractice, including those who have suffered harm due to a radiology error. They can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the legal process, including:
- Evaluate the case: A medical malpractice attorney can assess your case’s merits and review medical records and other evidence to determine whether there was negligence or wrongdoing by the radiologist or other healthcare professionals involved.
- Investigate the claim: Your attorney can investigate to gather additional evidence and consult with medical experts to build a strong case.
- Negotiate with insurers: Your lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies and other parties to seek a fair settlement for your damages.
- Represent the victim in court: If you cannot settle your case, your Florida misdiagnosis lawyer can present your case to a judge or jury.
- Support and guidance: Your attorney can provide emotional support and guidance to you and your family throughout the legal process.
Overall, a Florida medical malpractice attorney at Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA can help victims of radiology errors to navigate the complex legal system, protect their rights, and seek justice for the harm they have suffered.
Our law office has the resources to gather medical records and expert testimony to help prove that a radiologist failed to meet the standard of care required when making a misdiagnosis.
If You Suffered a Misdiagnosis by a Radiologist, Call Our Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Free Consultation
Accurate testing and interpretation of results are critical to providing patients in Florida with proper diagnoses and treatments. Radiologists are specially trained and entrusted with a vital job that physicians and patients rely on. When they misread test results or miss crucial elements, the potential harm to a patient is severe. Additionally, when a radiologist fails to notify the treating doctor of a possible medical issue, they jeopardize the patient’s health.
Prosper Shaked is a Florida medical malpractice attorney dedicated to holding medical professionals, such as radiologists, accountable for any harmful misdiagnosis they might have made. If you or a loved one were hurt or suffered unnecessary adverse medical consequences due to an error by a radiologist, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676 to schedule a free, confidential appointment or fill out our confidential contact form.