Radiologists are the kind of doctors that specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions and injuries using medical imaging, otherwise known as radiology. When radiologists make errors in diagnosis or treatment, it can lead to unnecessary pain and suffering for a patient, and, at times, even death. In these instances, an experienced Indiana radiology malpractice lawyer can help you evaluate your Indiana radiology malpractice claim and recover the compensation to which you are entitled.
When Radiologist Error Leads to an Indiana Radiology Malpractice Claim
Medical imaging tests used by radiologists include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, and ultrasounds, among others. In addition, radiologists may be providing the treatment itself, as in cases of targeted radiation treatment for some cancers. Radiologists are therefore an essential part of the care team working to correctly diagnose and treat a patient’s condition. As such, the consequences of radiologist errors in Indiana can be severe for patients.
In the radiology field, there is an estimated error rate of three to five percent. That may seem like a low percentage, but, given the number of people who need imaging tests performed and read by radiologists each year, this results in millions of patients being subjected to an error in their medical treatment.
An Indiana radiologist error can result in misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose, leading to worsening health conditions from incorrect or delayed treatment. In worst-case scenarios, a radiologist’s error can even lead to the patient’s death. When this happens as a result of negligence or wrongdoing on the part of a medical care provider, the injured person (or the loved ones of a person who died due to radiology errors) may be entitled to file an Indiana radiology malpractice claim to obtain compensation for medical costs and other losses.
The Standard of Care and Indiana Radiologist Errors
In Indiana, the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana oversees radiologist licensing. In addition to meeting the minimum licensing standards, radiologists are also held to a certain standard of care by virtue of years of Indiana case law. Radiologists have years of training and are rightly expected to perform their job at a high level. Like doctors in other medical subspecialties, radiologists are expected to exercise reasonable care in their review of imaging tests and provision of radiation treatments.
When radiologists fail to exercise this duty to offer their patients reasonable attention and care, the patients often suffer. An Indiana radiology attorney can help Hoosiers determine if the level of care they received was appropriate or if there is cause for legal action.
Possible Radiologist Errors in Indiana
As with malpractice in any medical subspecialty, there are countless errors that a radiologist may make. Potential radiologist errors in Indiana include the following:
- Failure to identify issues on an imaging test, such as missing indications of a tumor or fracture on an X-ray;
- Misinterpretation of an imaging test, including cases where the radiologist sees an abnormality but dismisses it as nothing to be concerned about;
- Failure to recommend follow-up when needed; and
- Failure to communicate results to the ordering physician in a clear and timely manner.
Regarding failure to communicate, one of the earliest radiology cases to come out of Indiana was Keene v. Methodist Hospital, 324 F. Supp. 233 (N.D. Ind. 1971), involving a radiologist’s failure to contact the treating physician by phone with important results when he knew that written communications would be delayed by the Christmas holiday. The radiologist was found to be negligent in that case.
In addition to such errors and omissions in the reading of imaging test results, an Indiana radiologist error may occur during the actual administration of imaging tests. This would include cases in which the radiologist did not follow correct safety protocols or administered excessive radiation, among other scenarios.
For an Indiana radiologist error to meet the threshold to file an Indiana radiology malpractice claim, there needs to be proof that another provider in the same or similar field and circumstances would have made the correct diagnosis when looking at the same imaging test.
Ramifications of Radiologist Errors in Indiana
Radiology errors cost a patient time for accessing necessary treatment for their injury or condition. Time lost can lead to worsening of the initial condition, such as a cancerous tumor continuing to grow and spread throughout a patient’s body. These errors can result in missed opportunities to treat an illness or injury before it worsens. Another example is an unnoticed fracture turning into a more substantial break due to a lack of being immobilized so that the bone could begin to heal.
It is a rare occasion that failure to treat a condition does not result in missed opportunities to minimize the harmful effects of the condition. Almost always, a radiologist’s failure to properly identify an issue on a medical imaging test leads to a delay in obtaining the appropriate treatment and, therefore, a worse outcome for the patient—including death in extreme cases.
How an Indiana Radiology Malpractice Claim Lawyer Can Help You
Misdiagnosis or errors in radiation treatment can severely impact a person’s course of medical treatment, often prolonging or exacerbating illness and, at times, leading to what was a preventable death. An Indianapolis radiology malpractice lawyer with experience in these cases can best help you assess the course of action to take to address the mistreatment.
If you or a family member have been harmed as a result of a radiology error, your best course of action is to contact an Indiana radiology error attorney as soon as possible.
The Indianapolis-area law firm of Camden & Meridew, P.C., has attorneys who can help you evaluate and preserve your Indiana radiology malpractice claim. Contact David Allen at 317-770-0000 or via this online contact form to discuss how you can get the compensation that you are entitled to for any injuries you or a loved one has suffered as a result of an Indiana radiologist error.