Radiology is a field that uses images to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. Diagnostic radiology involves things like X-rays along with MRI, PET and CT scans. When there are errors in these diagnostic tools, it can delay the treatment of some serious conditions for patients in New Jersey.
Is misdiagnosis malpractice?
Even the best physicians are capable of making mistakes, and medical malpractice cases must show some kind of negligence in order to succeed. Misinterpretation of tests and images in radiology can have especially serious consequences. Critics of radiology as it’s currently practiced note that there’s little standardization across the specialty. Without clear standards, it makes sense that accuracy will suffer.
In over 80% of missed radiology diagnoses, the patient incurs serious harm or dies. In part, that’s because the stakes are very high when it comes to radiology. A missed diagnosis may mean that cancer can progress unchecked, without treatment, until it’s too late.
Insurance companies, along with patients, believe that errors in radiology are far too common. Consider that radiologists are second only to GPs as a specialty when it comes to malpractice claims. Like GPs, radiologists will see a variety of conditions. It may not be possible for a clinician to be perfect at identifying everything, but there are ways to improve.
Experts believe that implementing new tools could lead to big improvements in this area. For example, using images to support the findings in a report could be one improvement. Another could be using checklists to show exactly what their process is. Finally, it’s always a good idea to get another professional’s opinion if the radiologist cannot confidently make a determination.