The High Cost of Radiology Errors

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When radiology mistakes happen, they can cause severe damage. In fact, research has shown that 80 percent of radiology-related malpractice claims either cause death or permanent injury. For individuals and families suffering from radiology errors, these mistakes can be devastating.

The Insurance Study on Radiology Errors

In 2018, a study was conducted by Coverys, an insurance agency which covers health systems and medical practitioners, in order to determine why radiological occur and to try to improve patient safety and expose areas vulnerable to risk or harm. The study looked at over 10,000 insurance claims, focusing on the major risk factors and safety vulnerabilities regarding those claims filed from 2013 to 2017. The study showed that 15 percent of medical malpractice claims involved diagnosis-related allegations with radiologists. This ranked second only to claims against general medical providers, such as family practice physicians, internal medicine physicians, and pediatricians.

The study further revealed that approximately 80 percent of claims related to diagnosis resulted from a misinterpretation of a clinical test. Furthermore, when radiology was involved, more than 80 percent of those errors involved death or serious injury. Among those claims were life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer misdiagnoses and other diagnostic failures. Breast, lung, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers were among the most prevalent conditions when it came to diagnostic misinterpretation.

Some factors which led to incorrect radiology diagnosis included the lack of adequate training or experience as well as physical factors such as mental impairment, fatigue or mood.

Learning from the Study

By performing an assessment to find gaps in clinical care, the hope is that physicians can work toward eliminating errors, preventing harm and improving the outcome for patients.
The report specifically dedicated a section to risk recommendations for radiologists. The proposals included standardizing treatment protocols, using decision support films and developing templates for reporting. Further suggestions included separating any incidental findings, implementing checklists or quality-control methods and using clear and concise language to reduce the risks of misunderstanding the results.

Pursuing A Medical Malpractice Claim for Radiology Errors

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or died because of a radiology error, you may want to have a Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyer review your case or consult with an expert radiologist who can review your films and determine whether or not an error was made.

The lawyers in Los Angeles at the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. are here to help and can determine whether or not you have a viable medical malpractice claim based upon the error of a radiologist or any other type of physician. Call (310) 289-2600 for a free case evaluation today.

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