The day was November 8th, 1895. And on this day, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, a quiet and modest man, made a breakthrough discovery.

His discovery? The X-ray.

Röntgen became the recipient of countless accolades and much praise. And with good reason. The X-ray is an invaluable diagnostic tool, along with ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI’s, and more. Thanks to radiology, doctors are able to identify conditions with much more efficiency. Röntgen’s legacy lives on to this day.

 
But a diagnostic image is only so powerful. Without someone to interpret it, it’s useless. In this article we’ll be discussing how often radiologists are wrong. We’ll also discuss radiology malpractice cases. Keep reading to learn more.

Can a Radiologist Be Sued for Negligence?

Yes! It may shock you to learn that the error rate for radiologists is 4%. And on  average there are 1 billion radiology exams each year. By this logic, that means there will be 40 million radiologist errors. So as you can, there’s definitely cause for radiologist malpractice cases! 
As you probably know, doctor’s order imaging to help deliver a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. And though your doctor likely knows their way around an X-ray, it’s not their specialty. Doctors and radiologists work hand in hand to decipher and communicate results.
 
Like your doctor, radiologists also have a responsibility to do their job well. Radiologists go through much training and are experts in their field. Their job includes reading X-rays, MRI’s, PET scans, nuclear medicine, and more. If they misinterpret or completely miss something, you’re likely to suffer.
 
When a radiologist makes a mistake, your health may suffer. Maybe this means a broken bone doesn’t get treatment and heals wrong. A mistake that affects the way you walk. Or what if cancer, a heart condition, or a blood clot go unnoticed?
 
If you are suffering because of medical negligence, know that you deserve better. You may be able to sue for medical malpractice, but you’ll never know if you don’t reach out. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer today to discuss your situation.
A radiologist and doctor discuss the findings of a patient's X-ray.

Understand These Myths About Radiology

Myth #1: Radiation is a part of all scanning technology
 
There are actually many scans that don’t expose patients to any ionic forms of radiation. One of these tests is magnetic resonance imaging, aka an MRI. Instead of using radiation, it uses magnets. The magnets and radio waves work in tandem to generate internal images of the body. Crazy, right? Ultrasounds are another form of scanning technology that don’t expose patients to radiation.
Myth #2: Diagnostic imaging releases harmful radiation
 
Overexposure to radiation is harmful, there’s no around it. But diagnostic imaging use a minimal amount of radiation. So unless you’re getting too many tests or work in a hazardous environment, it shouldn’t be a problem. But as always, seek help of a medical professional if you have reason to worry.
 
Want to know an interesting fact? Each day the world around us exposes us to radiation. There’s a small amount of radiation found when flying on an airplane and even through the food we eat.
Myth #3: X-Rays are outdated
 
Sure, the X-ray has been around since 1895, so it’s a fair question to ask. But X-rays continue to be useful and are more accessible than other types of tests. They also provide quick results and tend to be cheaper.
 
We hope this information was helpful. Knowledge is power, after all.

Most Common Mistakes Radiologists Make Reading a CT, MRI, or Scan

Medical malpractice cases generally involve some sort of injury or worsened illness. With radiology malpractice cases, it generally means an error in interpretation. Radiologists may misinterpret an X-ray, mammogram, CT or CAT scan, MRI, or ultrasound. But this list isn’t all inclusive as there are many other tests.
 
When a radiologist makes a mistake it can result in serious health complications. It can lead to the wrong diagnosis, which will be detrimental to the patient. It can prolong an illness or delay treatment. If a condition goes without notice, it can result in death.
 
In the United States the average radiologist makes a yearly salary of $419,290 per year. And there’s a reason for that. Radiologists go to school for roughly 13 years, after high school. They’re highly trained and with that comes a lot of responsibility. They’re humans like the rest of us, but they have a duty to serve patients with attention and care.
A doctor looks at a little girl's X-ray and explains the results.

Was My Radiologists Wrong (& Do I Have A Case)?

If your results seem inconsistent or abnormal, you may want a second opinion. If you find that your radiologist made a mistake, there may be cause to file a case.
 
Here’s a few examples of how misreading a test can alter a patient’s life:
 
  • Your mammogram shows cancer cells but your radiologist doesn’t notice. (You can read about breast cancer misdiagnosis here.
  • A missed fracture takes away your motion.
  • The radiologist fails to detect an aneurysm and it later ruptures.
  • Bowel obstructions go without treatment and cause the intestines to die.
 
Lastly, negligence during testing can also warrant a medical malpractice case. This may mean overlooking safety precautions or administering excessive radiation.
 
The list of possible consequences is endless. And the results are often times horrific. An accurate analysis can mean the difference between life and death. Cases involving radiology malpractice can be very complex. If you or your family members believes you have a case, get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney. There’s no reason you should be afraid to sue. 

What Happens When Your Radiologist Is Wrong? Or Makes An Error?

Here’s a couple examples. Let’s say a patient’s radiologist administers and interprets a mammogram. As a result, they miss a very important diagnosis of breast cancer. Not good. These types of mistakes cause serious injury and death. In this case, the patient can and should take the radiologist to court to sue for malpractice.
 
Here’s another example. Let’s say the radiologist reads an MRI of the brain and completely misses a tumor. The tumor, unfortunately, is cancerous. And because the doctor misses it, the patient never gets a diagnosis. Thankfully the patient gets a second opinion. This radiologist catches the mistake and saves the patient’s life.
 
Regardless, the first radiologist made a mistake. Had they spotted it the first time, the patient wouldn’t have suffered as much. (Not to mention the extra medical bills she had to pay.) After all, the earlier cancer is caught, the higher the chance of survival. If the patient wants to recoup her losses and get compensation for the mistake, she’ll have to sue for radiology malpractice.
 
Radiologists are a critical part of the diagnostic process. When they make errors, it often causes serious problems. Even if they miss something as small as a fracture in the foot, it can lead to a lot more pain and suffering for the patient. The long and short of it is this.
 
Radiologists, like any other doctor, need to be held accountable. If you believe you or a loved one’s suffering is because of a radiologist’s error, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. We recommend that you call a medical malpractice lawyer near you. During your first meeting you can discuss your situation and find out what your options are.
 
If you have a case and choose to hold the radiologist accountable, you’re not only getting compensation for yourself — you’re raising the standards for healthcare as a whole. You may very well have prevented someone else from suffering the same fate you did. If you need assistance, please click here to schedule a free consultation. 
An image of a woman with question marks all around her head.

Frequently Asked Questions About Radiology Errors & Malpractice

 

How accurate are radiology reports?

A machine learning technology was developed by researchers, which can be used to interpret radiologist reports with a 91 percent accuracy rate. That’s an incredible rate but as you can see, there’s still room for error. 

 

Can radiologists misread a CT scan?

Yes, it is possible. In fact, a radiologist can misread an X-ray, mammogram, MRI, CT, or CAT scan. And it happens more often than you might think. This causes misdiagnosis or failure to diagnosis an existing issue. Consequently, it leads to the formulation of an ineffective treatment plan.

 

Can MRI’s ever be wrong?

Yes! The MRI machines may deal with technical issues and sometimes an incorrect reading may be generated by a computer. However, in case of a technical issue, the majority of radiologists are capable of diagnosing it immediately. However, many tend to overlook such issues too.  

 

Can CT scan results be wrong?

It is possible for a CT to be inaccurate with its results, by not distinguishing between cancerous tissue and non-cancerous tissue. It is possible to misread or misinterpret CT scans. Typically, imaging tests cannot determine whether cancer has led to specific changes in the body. CT scans can generate results that are false negatives and false positives. 

 

Can you sue a radiologist for misdiagnosis?

Yes! Patients can hold radiologists responsible for any diagnostic errors, which typically pertain to misdiagnosed cancers involving tumors present in the lungs or breasts. Approximately 90% of all radiologists will have been sued at least once by the time they read age 65. 

 

What is considered a misdiagnosis?

When your doctor gives you an incorrect prognosis (forecast or likely outcome of the disease; the chance of recovery or recurrence) after evaluating your symptoms and performing tests. Example: You have chest pain. The doctor says it’s indigestion. It turns out to be early stage symptoms of a heart attack. Misdiagnosis. 

 

How do you prove misdiagnosis?

To prove misdiagnosis, there needs to be proof that another radiologist in the same or similar specialty would have gotten it right.  That is, the radiologist failed to give the correct diagnosis when a competent radiologist would have.