Radiology mistakes can be deadly

When people in Georgia go in for a scan or other radiological assessment, it can be critical that they receive a correct diagnosis the first time. Incorrect diagnoses can be particularly dangerous when it comes to radiology. New statistics show that around 80 percent of malpractice claims related to radiology involve mistaken interpretations of test results and misdiagnoses. Furthermore, 80 percent of those claims are very severe and include permanent injury or death as the results of the medical mistake.

Insurance provider Coverys recently released these results as part of an annual study, saying that they are an important tool to improve patient safety. Radiological errors can have a severe effect on a patient's life, especially since tests are often used to identify serious, progressive and deadly diseases like cancer. The failure to diagnose cancer can lead to the growth and progression of the disease, often to a point where the illness is incurable or terminal. Because radiological tests are such a key facet of diagnosis, they can be one of the most common reasons for malpractice claims. Around 15 percent of all claims related to misdiagnosis involve radiology tests.

The most frequently misdiagnosed cancers in the study, which examined over 10,000 claims, were breast, lung, pancreatic and ovarian malignancies. While radiologists play a critical role in the diagnosis process, they are often uninvolved directly with patients. They primarily analyze results rather than connect those results to patient narratives. Therefore, their reports may not be fully integrated with the knowledge of the diagnostic team. The researchers suggested standardized reporting practices as one mechanism to reduce errors.

Medical mistakes can have severe consequences, especially when cancer goes misdiagnosed and is allowed to progress without treatment. Patients who have suffered a worsened health condition as a result of a doctor error can consult with a medical malpractice attorney about the potential to pursue compensation.

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