Radiology Medical Malpractice Lawsuits: When Can Victims Take Legal Action?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Medical Malpractice Published on April 10, 2024 and updated on April 17, 2024.

doctor looking at mri imagesOne of the first steps in treating an illness is accurately diagnosing it. This is where radiology comes in, as doctors often use medical imaging technology (X-ray, MRI, CT scan) to better understand a patient’s medical condition.

Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong with tests, such as misinterpreting results or miscommunication between the technician and the treating physician. These issues may rise to the level of medical malpractice.

Below, we discuss radiology medical malpractice, including why it is dangerous, some common examples and when victims may have a case.

Our experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyers have secured millions for those injured by medical negligence.

Contact us to discuss your claim. No upfront fees or obligations. Call 410-297-0271.

The Role of Radiology in Medical Treatment

Radiology testing is a critical step in the treatment of injuries and medical conditions, ranging from internal bleeding and broken bones to cancer. Doctors often rely on medical imaging, like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans or ultrasounds to:

  • Diagnose an illness like cancer or another chronic illness
  • Determine how to proceed with medical care
  • Track the progression of a disease
  • Evaluate how the patient is responding to treatment

Imaging Tests May Guide Patient Decisions

Patients are often so relieved when an MRI or ultrasound comes back negative, they do not ask additional questions. Their doctor could decide to discontinue treatment and the patient will feel a high degree of confidence in this decision. Even if the doctor wants to continue treatment, the patient may assume there is nothing seriously wrong because of the results of the imaging test.

Given the role radiology plays in a patient’s diagnosis, it is more important than ever that medical professionals do these tests properly and accurately interpret the results. An accurate diagnosis is particularly important when there is a possibility of a life-threatening illness, like cancer.

The Dangers of Radiology Malpractice

Mistakes or malpractice can lead to devastating outcomes for patients:

  • Progression of cancer: Misdiagnosis of cancer could allow tumors to grow and spread to other parts of the body, making the cancer more difficult to treat. The treatment options that remain could expose victims to a wide variety of severe side effects.
  • Prolonged treatment or recovery: Even if a patient’s medical condition is not life-threatening, a delay in treatment could prolong recovery. Delays may also increase the risk of long-term medical problems developing. This can greatly affect the patient’s quality of life, ability to work and relationships with loved ones.
  • Invasive and unnecessary medical treatment: An incorrect diagnosis could cause patients to unnecessarily undergo invasive surgery, exposing them to a risk of infection, excessive bleeding or other complications. This prolongs treatment, which can lead to prolonged pain and suffering.
  • Adverse reactions to drugs: Some patients may be prone to an allergic reaction to contrast, which is used during an MRI. If a patient was not asked about other medications they are taking, a test like this could result in harmful interactions.

Common Forms of Medical Malpractice in Radiology

It is important to distinguish between medical malpractice and an error. You cannot file a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit simply because a doctor or technician made a mistake.

Your lawyer must provide evidence that what happened was a breach of the standard of care for the situation. Some common examples of possible breaches of the standard of care may include:

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

These serious outcomes are often errors of perception. In other words, the medical imaging shows something abnormal, but the radiologist misses it. Sometimes this error is referred to as misinterpreting test results, causing the radiologist to miss signs of your true illness. They could diagnose you with a condition that is not there, or diagnose you as healthy, even though you are suffering from an illness.

Sometimes misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis is caused by failing to conduct more tests. Doctors may have been more likely to spot signs of the illness on subsequent X-rays, CT scans or MRIs.

Lack of Proper Training or Medical Knowledge

If a radiologist does not know how to spot a particular medical condition, it may be more likely to go undiagnosed. This could be because of the radiologist’s own incompetence or a failure during training.

Medication Errors

Medication errors refer to giving a patient the wrong drug, the wrong dose or administering the drug in an incorrect way. This error often happens when patients are transferred from one part of the hospital to the radiology department. Those in radiology may not have an accurate medical history or medication list for the patient. This could result in administering a dye, blood thinner or sedative that could cause an allergic reaction.

Failure To Communicate

Sometimes radiologists fail to communicate critical findings to your referring doctor. In this situation, adverse outcomes may be the fault of the radiologist and not your treating doctor.

Communication is not just about the information that is conveyed, but timeliness. A delay in communication could result in significant harm to the patient, as doctors may act on incomplete or incorrect information.

Technical Errors

Radiologists may have positioned the patient incorrectly or calibrated equipment the wrong way. This can result in inadequate or misleading images, making it harder to accurately diagnose a medical condition.

Failing To Follow-up on Abnormal Findings

When radiologists fail to recommend further imaging or specialist consultations after abnormal findings, patients could be put in harm’s way.

If you suspect that your loved one’s adverse medical outcome was due to radiology malpractice, it is critical to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can evaluate the specifics of your case.

At The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl, we understand the intricacies of medical malpractice claims, including those involving radiology errors.

Injured by Medical Malpractice? Contact The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl Today

You need to understand your rights and the steps to take if you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice. The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl is dedicated to guiding victims through the legal process, aggressively seeking full compensation.

If you suspect radiology malpractice has occurred, do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced law firm. We have a history of results in medical malpractice cases and do not charge upfront fees.

Free legal consultation. Millions recovered. Phone: 410-297-0271.