Radiology is an important specialty in healthcare. Radiologists perform various tests and interpret and analyze their results to arrive at a diagnosis or conclusion. But when a radiologist commits an error, the result can be disastrous for the patient. Fortunately, patients can hold them accountable when they are negligent.
Every year, patients undergo roughly 1 billion imaging exams. In most cases, doctors order these tests to discover injuries and ailments.
Some of the more common tests and imaging studies that doctors conduct include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Nuclear medicine imaging
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans
- Computed tomography (CT) scans
Of course, these tests can provide highly detailed and helpful information. However, those who perform these tests must know how to properly read and interpret the results. They must also deliver results in a timely manner. If they do not, the delay could be just as harmful as an improper diagnosis.
Research published in the American Journal of Roentgenology showed that doctors make errors in about 3% to 5% of these exams. This works out to tens of millions of errors.
Sadly, these errors may end up harming patients physically and emotionally. They may leave patients worse off than before they sought help.
Consequences of Radiology Errors in Richmond
A mistake on any imaging test can be devastating. For instance, missing a sign of a developing disease could lead to a full-blown manifestation of that disease, such as cancer. Or failing to diagnose internal bleeding could cause a fatal loss of blood.
Some of the common diseases that might appear in diagnostic testing include:
- Blood clots
- Heart attacks
- Lung and breast cancer
- Injuries to the spinal cord
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Clots in the lungs
Failure to detect any of these serious conditions can be deadly. And if a victim survives a testing error, they may suffer from prolonged illness and pain.
Why Radiology Errors in Richmond Occur
Doctors spend years in school and pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn their professions. Yet no amount of schooling can entirely eliminate imaging errors from the healthcare world. This is because humans are not perfect. Additionally, the equipment they use is often limited and limiting.
Yes, advances in knowledge have greatly benefited healthcare over the past decade. However, errors can make new advances obsolete or even dangerous.
According to an Applied Radiology study, some of the major reasons for errors in the field include:
Not Comparing Findings
Doctors must often compare their current findings with previous studies or reports. This step allows the radiologist to compare test results with a baseline and other relevant information. However, without these comparisons, the radiologist is simply making an educated guess.
Limited, Absent, or Defective Technology
Technology makes diagnosing injuries and conditions easier. However, some doctors do not have access to state-of-the-art technology. Moreover, others must contend with equipment and machinery that is not up to the current task. These issues increase the risk of testing errors.
Too Narrow of a Search
Doctors sometimes commit errors because their searches are too narrow. They focus their efforts on the area of current interest. However, the pathology they are looking for might be located outside of this area. In other words, a radiologist could miss a sign or symptom because they simply were not looking in the right place.
Satisfaction of Search Errors
This type of error occurs when a doctor finds an abnormal sign and believes the search to be complete. However, finding a symptom or sign of a disease may not signal the end of the search at all. When a doctor is not thorough, they could miss another abnormality that may get worse without treatment.
Unable to Recognize Normal Variants
The uniqueness of each patient means each one has slight biological variances. These minor differences do not indicate disease or injury. However, some doctors fail to recognize normal variances. Instead, they report them as evidence of a condition when, in fact, they are false positives.
In rare cases, radiology errors in Richmond occur due to the use of drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol directly interfere with a doctor’s ability to perform their specialty safely. Sadly, addiction in the healthcare industry is common.
Justice for Radiology Errors
What can you do if you are the victim of radiology errors in Richmond? You can pursue justice through compensation. The law allows victims to be made whole in these situations. However, the process involved in collecting this money is complex, detailed, and unforgiving.
For this reason, your first step toward justice should be to meet with a medical malpractice attorney Richmond. Without an attorney, you risk getting less than the amount you deserve for your losses.
Victims of radiology errors in Richmond can seek monetary and nonmonetary damages for their losses. Monetary losses include things like:
- Medical bills
- Medication costs
- Lost income
Nonmonetary losses, on the other hand, include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of ability to enjoy life
- Loss of society
- Mental anguish
These types of losses do not have built-in price tags. But skilled attorneys know formulas that allow them to calculate satisfactory monetary damages.
In very rare cases, punitive damages may be available. However, the victim must prove that the healthcare worker’s actions were particularly bad.
Call Our Office to Speak with a Lawyer Today!
A radiologist should be at the top of their game when treating patients. However, a diagnostic error can lead to a tragic result that no patient should ever have to deal with. The Joel Bieber Law Firm is ready to help you get justice for the radiology errors that have harmed you. Call today for a free meeting with a medical malpractice lawyer who cares.