Turn to a Radiology Malpractice Lawyer at Our Offices in Montana or Wyoming
Radiology is a field of medicine that involves the interpretation of images of the body’s organs and tissues. Radiologists are doctors who have specialized training in reviewing these images in order to diagnose a disease so that the patient can get the treatment they need. Radiology is a vital part of almost every segment of the healthcare industry, including pediatrics, the ER, surgery, and others. Radiology errors can result in delays in treatment that can cause serious harm to patients or place their health in severe jeopardy where time is of the essence. If you believe that you have suffered harm as the result of a radiology error, a Montana and Wyoming radiology malpractice attorney can review your case and determine whether you may be entitled to compensation.
Types of Radiology Errors That Can Lead to a Malpractice Claim
There are many different types of errors that can lead to serious health issues for patients. These errors rarely involve administering the tests themselves. Instead, the errors typically occur after the tests have been administered. The most common types of errors are diagnostic errors, where the radiologist fails to appropriately diagnose the patient’s medical condition. These diagnostic errors break down into two types:
- Perception errors. This is where the radiologist simply fails to see indicators of disease or other health issues. This could be due to fatigue, a lack of experience, or simple negligence - the radiologist failed to use appropriate care in reviewing the images.
- Knowledge errors. Some misdiagnoses are the result of the radiologist’s lack of knowledge because they simply did not know what they were looking at. This can be deemed medical malpractice if a similarly trained and experienced radiologist would have been able to make a diagnosis when reviewing the same images.
However, there are other radiology errors that can occur in addition to diagnostic errors. These include the following:
- Communication errors. Except for mammograms, radiologists are not required to communicate their findings directly to the patient. Instead, they must communicate the results in a timely and clinically appropriate manner. Many malpractice claims arise from untimely delays in communicating results or, in some cases, from failing to communicate the results at all.
- Failure to suggest follow-up procedures. A specific type of communication error, this is when radiologists fail to recommend what steps should be taken next. Radiologists are expected to recommend additional diagnostic testing or other procedures to confirm the results whenever appropriate. The referring physician may also be liable for failing to recognize when additional testing or other action may be necessary.
Just like any other healthcare professional, radiologists are expected to provide treatment that conforms to the accepted standard of care. Unfortunately for patients, the standard of care can be difficult to define, and so it can be difficult to identify radiology malpractice when it occurs. Some diseases are difficult to detect even by a highly trained radiologist, and certain errors may be beyond their control. For these reasons, you should contact an experienced Wyoming and Montana radiology malpractice attorney if you suspect that you have suffered harm as a result of a radiology error. They can review your case, identify where things went wrong, and then help you hold the appropriate parties accountable.
Our Radiology Malpractice Attorney Explains Common Malpractice Claims
Doctors depend on radiology results in order to prescribe the correct treatment to their patients. When errors occur, it often results in serious harm to the patient - there may be a delay in treatment where time is of the essence, they may receive the incorrect treatment, or they may not receive any treatment at all. Some of the most common radiology errors can result in the following:
- Untreated bone fractures or tendon and ligament tears that do not heal properly
- Medication errors
- Surgical errors or unnecessary surgeries
- Infection and sepsis
The most serious cases of radiology errors often result in the failure to diagnose serious, life-threatening diseases such as heart disease or cancer. In these situations, failing to identify the illness prevents the patient from getting the treatment they need in a timely fashion. When the illness is discovered, the patient’s condition may be considerably worse and they now require much more invasive treatment than they would have had it been diagnosed earlier. Even worse, the condition may now be incurable and eventually lead to the patient’s death.
A Montana and Wyoming radiology malpractice attorney can review your case and determine whether you have a claim if you believe you have suffered as a result of a radiology error.
Causes of Radiology Errors
There can be numerous causes of radiology errors, ranging from the imperceptible to the obvious. These causes can include the following:
- Fatigue. Unfortunately, our medical professionals are often overworked with heavy caseloads. Radiologists may be responsible for reviewing hundreds of cases per week, and long hours can lead to mistakes. A fatigued radiologist can mix up results or fail to communicate results to the referring physician.
- Negligence. Radiologists have the obligation to exercise due care in performing their duties. Allowing themselves to be distracted, failing to pay full attention to their work, or simply neglecting their cases can result in serious errors.
- Lack of experience. Accurately interpreting medical imaging requires extensive experience. Simply put, an inexperienced radiologist will not see the same things that a more experienced radiologist will see. Inexperienced radiologists should be aware of the limitations of their abilities and have appropriate supervision to prevent errors from occurring.
Whatever the cause may be, medical malpractice cases can be difficult to prove. A Montana and Wyoming radiology malpractice attorney can help you with your claim.
Talk to a Montana and Wyoming Radiology Malpractice Attorney at Ragain & Clark Today
At Ragain & Clark, we provide compassionate, dedicated legal representation to people who have suffered as a result of medical malpractice. If you have suffered due to a radiology error, contact us today by calling 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) to schedule a free consultation. The sooner you call, the sooner we can help you start moving forward.