You went to the doctor with a specific set of symptoms. Your doctor then ordered tests to help come to the appropriate diagnosis. The radiologist reviewed the results of those tests and provided your doctor with an opinion, which then led to a course of treatment.
In a perfect world, this would be the end of it and you would recover from whatever ails you. Unfortunately, radiologists make mistakes just like anyone else. The issue is that when a radiologist makes mistakes, it could cause harm to patients, including permanent or fatal injuries.
Many things could cause a radiologist to make a mistake
There is a difference between looking with your eyes and looking with your mind. Radiologists need to engage their eyes and their brains in order to accurately assess the results of a test. The following factors could interfere with an accurate reading:
- Phone calls
- Numerous cases per day
Even having an available clinical history could cause a radiologist to ignore what it right in front of him or her. Other factors that could cause inaccurate readings may come from the hospital. For instance, equipment or software issues may skew results. None of these reasons provides an excuse for a radiologist or a hospital when it comes to falling below the acceptable standard of care patients deserve.
When radiologists make mistakes
A radiologist could improperly administer and interpret a mammogram, which could result in a missed or delayed diagnosis of breast cancer. A radiologist reading a chest X-ray could miss a tumor. This could cause a critical delay in a patient's diagnosis of lung cancer. When doctors attempt to diagnose illnesses such as cancer, research shows that the earlier doctors make accurate diagnoses, the greater the chances of survival for the patient. Radiologists are a vital part of the diagnostic process. The mistakes they make could cost lives under these circumstances.
In other instances, missing a break or fracture in a bone could force a patient to spend more time in agonizing pain. Failing to receive needed medical care based on faulty imaging readings could also result in permanent injuries when a patient continues to attempt to use an affected limb.
If you believe that your care suffered due to a radiologist's mistake, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. All medical professionals should meet or exceed the current care standards for their profession and their specialty. When they don't, people suffer. Holding such a medical professional accountable could prevent another person from experiencing the same harm you did.