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Top 4 Causes of Radiology Malpractice in Kentucky

Top-4-Causes-of-Radiology-Malpractice-in-Kentucky-ImageThe most common cause of radiology malpractice in Kentucky and other states is diagnostic error, a new study reveals.

Breast cancer, non-spinal fractures, spinal fractures, lung cancer, and vascular disease were the most frequently missed diagnoses, according to research published in the February issue of Radiology.

The study examined medical malpractice data for 8,401 radiologists in 47 states to determine the most frequent causes of malpractice suits.

Thirty-one percent of radiologists had a least one claim made over the course of their career for which a cause could be identified.

Top 4 causes of radiology malpractice:

  1. Diagnostic errors
  2. Procedural complications
  3. Inadequate communication with either the patient or referrer
  4. Failure to recommend additional testing.

This is from Oncology Nurse Advisor:

“[I]nterpretive errors, rather than communication errors, are by far the most common generic cause of malpractice suits against radiologists,” the authors write. “In this category, breast cancer is the most frequently missed diagnosis, followed by non-vertebral fractures and spinal fractures.”

Breast cancer is the most second most common cancer afflicting women, after skin cancer, and kills more women than any other form of the disease except lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2013, about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. About 39,620 women will die from breast cancer.

Early detection can save lives. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the broader the range of treatments and the greater the likelihood of stopping the cancer.

The study’s conclusion: Most medical malpractice lawsuits against radiologists allege errors of interpretation and diagnosis.