Can a Radiologist Be Sued for Negligence?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on April 7, 2021
A radiologist is a medical professional that reads and interprets the results of medical imaging devices, including ultrasounds, MRIs, and x-rays. The radiologist then provides his or her analysis to the treating physician, who can diagnose and order the appropriate treatment for the patient.
However, radiologists can commit errors that may lead to serious complications. If you receive an imaging test and the radiologist misreads or misinterprets your results, you may be eligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Common Types of Radiology Errors
All medical professionals, including radiologists, have a duty to uphold a certain standard of care while treating patients. If a radiologist breaches this duty through a negligent act or omission, he or she commits an act of malpractice. Although human error often occurs in medical care, a radiologist must perform his or her job with the same level of care as a similarly trained and reasonably competent radiologist
Many types of radiology errors may occur, including the following.
- Misinterpretation: While some conditions may be too difficult to detect, a radiologist should be able to detect conditions that a similarly trained and competent professional would under the same circumstances. If a radiologist examines a medical image and fails to identify a common or obvious condition, he or she commits an act of negligence.
- Poor communication: Radiologists and physicians must efficiently communicate with each other and their patients. However, if a radiologist fails to communicate test results to a physician, the patient may not receive the level of care he or she needs.
Proving a Lawsuit Against a Radiologist
You may have grounds for a radiology malpractice lawsuit if you sustained an injury due to a radiologist’s negligence. Through a malpractice lawsuit, you can recover compensation for your additional medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages that you sustained due to the radiology error. However, you will need to prove that the radiologist’s negligence caused your injuries and damages.
To secure your right to compensation, you will need to prove four key elements.
- The radiologist owed you a duty of care at the time of the malpractice.
- The radiologist breached his or her duty of care in some way.
- The breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
For example, say that the radiologist responsible for interpreting your ultrasound fails to detect an ectopic pregnancy. As a result, your condition worsened until you developed life-threatening complications and had to undergo emergency surgery. If the radiologist had interpreted the results correctly and upheld his or her duty of care, your condition would not have been as serious.
You can use your medical records to establish the radiologist’s duty of care to you. To establish the breach of duty, your attorney can enlist the help of expert medical witnesses who can review your case and provide insight on the radiologist’s behavior. These experts can testify whether the radiologist’s interpretation differed from how a properly trained and reasonably prudent radiologist would have acted under the same circumstances. This testimony and your medical records can establish the cause of your injuries.
Contact a Radiology Malpractice Attorney
If you developed an injury or worsening illness due to a radiologist’s negligence, you have the right to file a lawsuit against him or her. In Missouri, filing a medical malpractice claim can be difficult without an attorney on your side. Medical malpractice lawyers can help investigate your claim, connect you with the care you need, and craft a compelling case for your right to compensation. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.