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Failure to diagnose a major issue in area of radiology

Patients in Maryland typically trust their doctors to properly diagnose them and then effectively treat their ailments. Failing to diagnose a patient properly can unfortunately cause one to become seriously ill or even die if his or her illness is not caught early enough. One area of medicine where the failure to diagnose patients is especially a problem is radiology.

In the field of radiology, three-fourths of legal suits center on failing to diagnose an illness or communicate properly. A majority of diagnostic misses occur with cancer of the breast and scans of the pelvis and abdomen. They also occur with fractures. More than 55 percent of these errors involving X-rays, mammograms and computed tomography, or CT, happen to be subtle.

These errors sometimes happen because radiology assistants, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are poorly supervised. Medication complications also sometimes occur in radiology suites. Radiology in 2014 ranked fifth out of nearly 30 medical specialty areas in the amount of money paid out in medical malpractice lawsuits, with average payout dollars totaling more than $400,000.

When a person is harmed by a doctor's failure to diagnose him or her in Maryland, the patient's life can be affected permanently. That individual has the right to file a medical malpractice claim, seeking compensatory damages. The loved ones of a person who has died as a result of a doctor's negligence may also seek to hold the physician accountable in civil court. Monetary compensation may not be able to reverse the effects of the error, but it may help the affected individual and/or the family to experience closure.

Source:, "To Avoid Malpractice, Radiologists Must Communicate", Whitney L.J. Howell, Dec. 22, 2014

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