Radiology Errors Malpractice

Radiology is an important part of the medical practice. It is used to diagnose many injuries and medical conditions. If a radiologist makes a preventable mistake while reading or interpreting your imaging test results, it could interfere with your ability to receive the medical care you need. In this circumstance, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the radiologist and/or hospital.

What Is Radiology?

Radiology is the field of medicine related to imaging technology, such as x-rays, CT scans and MRIs. These are critical technologies for identifying and diagnosing medical conditions in patients. A radiologist is a medical professional in charge of reading, reviewing and interpreting the films from x-rays and scans. Although a patient generally will not interact with a radiologist, the radiologist plays a very important role as the practitioner responsible for accurately reading diagnostic films.

Examples of Radiology Errors

Radiology is a complex practice that requires years of education and training. Although imaging technology has come a long way, radiology still requires a human to read diagnostic films and interpret them correctly. A careless or negligent radiologist could put a patient at risk by committing many different types of preventable errors, such as:

  • Failing to order the proper diagnostic tests
  • Misreading diagnostic films
  • Misreading CT scans or MRI scans
  • Interpreting the films incorrectly
  • Rushing through a film reading
  • Missing abnormalities in the test images
  • Failing to properly use the related equipment
  • Ignoring the hospital’s required procedures
  • Failing to communicate results properly to a doctor

Failure to diagnose is one of the most prominent forms of medical malpractice in California. Radiology errors can contribute to failures to diagnose, as well as delay the patient receiving the medical care he or she requires.

When Are Radiology Errors Medical Malpractice?

It is critical for a radiologist to adhere to the medical industry’s standards of care when reading diagnostic films from x-rays, CT scans and MRI scans. A radiologist must act in a way that a reasonable and prudent health care practitioner would in the same or similar circumstances. This means the radiologist must pay attention, correctly read the films and deliver an assessment that will lead to proper treatment.

A radiology error might constitute medical malpractice in California if it meets the following four elements:

  1. A patient-doctor relationship existed at the time of the alleged radiology error.
  2. The radiologist committed an error that a reasonably prudent professional would not have in similar circumstances.
  3. The radiologist’s error caused or substantially contributed to the patient’s harm.
  4. The patient suffered compensable losses, such as additional hospital bills, pain and suffering, or wrongful death.

Although a radiologist is not required to make a correct diagnosis every time, he or she is required to use the appropriate level of care when reading films. If the radiologist is guilty of a careless act that leads to misreading the diagnostic films and delivering an incorrect diagnosis, the radiologist could share liability for any harm the patient suffers as a result.

How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in California?

If you believe you have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in California connected to a harmful radiology error, act quickly to make sure you meet the state’s deadline. California has a statute of limitations of one year on all medical malpractice cases. If you wait too long and miss the statute of limitations, the courts will most likely refuse to take your case – barring you and your family from financial recovery.

Consult With an Attorney Today

If you are wondering whether you have grounds for a radiology error lawsuit, contact an attorney in Sacramento right away. The medical malpractice attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp offer free initial consultations, where we can help you understand your rights as an injured patient.