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. 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 back to your doctor. When a radiologist misinterprets the results or passes along incomplete information, both the physician and the radiologist could be held liable for any adverse medical consequences. As a patient, you may have the right to sue your radiologist for medical malpractice after a misdiagnosis. Our experienced 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 through the interpretation of scans from medical imaging equipment. A radiologist is required to 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 in tandem with primary care physicians, providing detailed reports on medical imaging tests.
Suing for Medical Malpractice by Florida Radiologists
A critical component in the diagnosis and treatment of many injuries and diseases is the accurate interpretation of medical radiological images. Treating physicians and patients 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, as proper treatment may be delayed or ignored. When an unjustifiable medical mistake in Florida lead to injuries or harm, the radiologist could be held responsible. Like other medical professionals, radiologists are held to the same standard of care as other physicians working in a similar environment.
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. Any misinterpretation of a patient’s test results could lead to a misdiagnosis or mistaken treatment. It is not uncommon for errors in interpreting imaging results to have severe consequences for a patient.
For example, imagine a patient is being treated for symptoms related to a heart attack, and the treating physician orders a magnetic resonance imaging test to determine if there was 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 so 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 diagnosis of cancer.
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. On any given day, a radiologist will likely interpret multiple tests and issue dozens of reports. Sometimes, even if the report is accurate, a breakdown in communication 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 test was ordered. Imagine now that the radiologist noticed the abnormality and notes 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 held liable for failing to read the full report, the radiologist could be held liable for not proactively reporting the abnormality to the treating doctor. Keep reading from personal injury attorney Prosper Shaked.
The Legal Standard of Care for Florida Radiologists
To be successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish that the radiologist owed them 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. In the previous example, the plaintiff would have to show that a similarly trained radiologist working under the same conditions would have either noticed the abnormality or, if they had, ensured that the treating physician was notified of its existence. 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 are entrusted with a vital job that both physicians and patients rely upon. When test results are misread, or when crucial elements are completely missed, 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 health of the patient. Prosper Shaked is a medical malpractice attorney dedicated to holding medical professions, 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.