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Radiology misdiagnoses can threaten patient lives, health

When people in Georgia go to the hospital, they may have little interaction with radiologists or the radiology team. However, because radiologists are responsible for reading and assessing critical tests, they play a key role in diagnosing patients with serious and progressive diseases like cancer. When radiology practice goes wrong, the effects on patients can be severe, especially when a mistaken radiology report leads to a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose cancer.

According to one study, around 80 percent of all medical malpractice claims involving radiology relate to the misinterpretation of clinical test results and the possibility of misdiagnosis. In addition, 80 percent of those claims referred to serious illnesses that resulted in either permanent injury or death. Despite the precision involved in radiological testing, errors can be unfortunately common and the effects on patients can be severe. When physicians fail to diagnose cancer, for example, a patient may be delayed in receiving appropriate treatment. Because cancer is a progressive disease, that delay can mean the difference between life and death. The report analyzed over 10,000 claims closed by one malpractice insurance provider between 2013 and 2017.

Of all the malpractice claims related to misdiagnosis, 15 percent involved radiologists. Only general medicine practitioners saw a greater percentage of such complaints. Because medical diagnostics is so heavily reliant on the interpretation of test results, radiologists' words can be determinative in diagnosing a particular patient. The most common type of misdiagnosis cited in these claims was a failure to diagnose cancer.

Patients who go to the doctor or the hospital expect to receive expert, correct medical care. A mistaken diagnosis or other medical error could take years from a patient's life. People who have suffered a worsened condition as a result of a physician error can consult with a medical malpractice attorney about the steps to pursue compensation.

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