Articles Posted in Misread Radiology

broken-arm-2117980_1920-169x300Studies report that many as 75% of all medical malpractice lawsuits that claim radiology errors might be linked to cognitive biases by radiologists. Radiologists must be trained about the existence of these biases and be equipped with the skills to deal with them.

For instance, radiologists often suffer from a context-related bias, because they do not have an appropriate clinical or framing context when they’re interpreting an image. This can result in the radiologist making the wrong decision, with possibly serious consequences. Such risks are higher when a patient’s medical history is incomplete.

According to the report, radiologists can get around this problem by ensuring that they have information that is directly supplied by patients, in addition to the clinical histories that they already have at their disposal. That gives them greater context in which they can make an appropriate and correct decision.

mri-782457_1280-300x300When patients have more one-to-one face time with radiologists, it could possibly help them better understand their own results, and have a more proactive and informed role in their own care. Those are the results of a new study from the University Of Michigan Medical School.

The study focused on 1,976 patients of radiology, who were given a questionnaire about their understanding of radiology results. The researchers found that patients very often hoped for more face time with radiologists to help them better understand the results. As many as 84% of the patients in the study expressed interest in meeting with their radiologists in order to discuss the findings of their exams. About 20% were actually willing to pay at least $40 or more to see a radiologist. They were also three times more comfortable when an image was analyzed by a radiologist, than a non-radiologist.

The study also reveals that many patients continue to be uninformed about the various processes in radiology. Up to 10% of the parents incorrectly believed that radiation is used in ultrasound, while 45% believed that magnetic resonance uses radiation. However, the researchers also found that the patient’s knowledge about the processes and systems involved improved markedly when they received educational literature. 

xray_08837The science of radiology plays a critical role in many medical diagnoses. However, when an error creeps into the radiology process, the result is often a delayed diagnosis or worse, a missed diagnosis. In fact, failure to diagnose, or a wrong diagnosis is one of the most serious radiology errors. However, studies also show that failure to communicate is another of the major causes of wrong diagnoses in radiology.

Failure to communicate can include more than just the communication of radiology reports to the physician, but also failures that prevent information from being transmitted to the patient. It is important to maintain the right communication channels so that there is no impediment to the communication of these critical results. Unfortunately, all too often there are discrepancies in the channels that result in communication failures.

For instance, the contact information for the respective doctor may be incorrect, making it difficult to contact the doctor. The doctor may simply be unable or inaccessible, and unable to see the radiology results in time. That could mean a delayed diagnosis, and with every day that a diagnosis is delayed, the patient’s health could worsen. Radiologists may also contribute to these communication hurdles simply by failing to complete documentation in a systematic manner. In fact, one study found that radiology groups very often fail to meet basic results-reporting standards set by the Joint Commission.

Radiology ErrorsDiagnostic errors are some of the most common types of medical errors that can expose patients to harm. Many diagnostic errors are linked to misread radiology or other types of radiology errors. When there are mistakes made when reading or evaluating radiology reports, a patient’s condition may either be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all, causing severe trauma and placing the patient at risk of serious injuries.

What are the common types of radiology errors?

Some of the more common types of radiology errors involve misread radiology reports. Radiologists can read many reports in a day and in a busy, city hospital an overworked and over-stressed radiologist can go through dozens of radiology reports in a matter of hours. Naturally, the chance for errors to creep in during the reading of such reports is very high. The radiologist may identify a particular finding in the report as abnormal, but may not attribute it to the right cause. That leads to a wrong diagnosis of the patient.

xray3.jpgIndiana medical malpractice cases involving radiation errors are extremely technical and complicated. One reason is because there isn’t just one way in which a radiation error can occur. With new medical technologies, using radioactive rays to diagnose and treat, and a continued paucity of training and oversight, the types and sources of these errors have increased.

The types of errors have been numerous.
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xray%202.jpgTimothy Plank, the husband of the late Debbie Plank, has authorized his attorneys to file a challenge to Indiana’s long-standing cap on medical malpractice injuries. Indiana’s current medical malpractice law limits awards to $1.25 million. On September 3, 2009, a Marion County jury returned a verdict of $ 8.5 million against Community Hospital of Indianapolis. The Planks alleged that Community Hospital had misplaced an x-ray that showed that Mrs. Plank had a small bowel obstruction.
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