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The Radiologist Misread Your Mammogram or X-Ray – Is That Medical Malpractice?

Posted by Guy DiMartino | Mar 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

Florida medical malpractice lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino explains radiologist medical malpractice.

It happens all too often. Somebody goes in for a test say a mammogram, lower GI or a plain x-ray and they are told everything is okay. After a period of time, however, they learn that the person who read the study made a mistake and the problem was clearly present on the study. Now, the patient learns that he has cancer that has progressed or another problem that would have been much easier to treat if it was diagnosed timely. Is there malpractice on the part of the radiologist, the doctor that reviewed the study?

Radiologist Medical Malpractice

Radiologists, like all doctors, are required to comply with the standard of care. In legal terms, the standard of care is defined as what would the reasonable radiologist have done is the same or similar circumstances. If it is clear that the lesion was on the prior study, the radiologist was probably negligent. The next question that has to be answered is – did the delay in diagnosis because the radiologist misread the study make a difference in the outcome? Let me give you a couple of examples to illustrate the point.

A person falls, injures their arm and goes to the emergency room. The emergency room doctor evaluates the patient and orders an x-ray of the arm. The radiologist tells the ER doctor that everything is normal. The ER doctor discharges the patient. A week later the patient returns to the ER in worse pain and another x-ray shows the arm is broken. The patient is taken into surgery and the fracture is corrected. The initial radiologist looks at the first x-ray and she missed the fracture. If the patient would not have needed surgery at the time of the initial visit and misread, then they may have a case. However, if the patient would have needed surgery anyway, there is probably no case.

Another example of this concept happens all the time in delayed cancer diagnosis cases. For instance, a patient goes in for a mammogram or a chest x-ray. There is a problem on the initial study but the radiologist reports the study as normal. A period of time goes by and a repeat study is done that shows the lesion has grown. A review of the initial study also shows the lesion. In these cases, the patient may have a malpractice case if an expert would testify that the patient would have a better outcome or would have survived if the radiologist did not misread the initial study. With some cancers the medical literature just doesn't support this conclusion. For instance, in some lung cancers, the five year survival is so low that the earlier diagnosis may not make a difference in the patient's survival.

Medicine is complex which is why a patient who believes they have been a victim of medical malpractice should discuss their concerns with one or more medical malpractice lawyers. Sometimes the doctor was clearly negligent in the care and treatment of a patient but the patient or their family will not be able to recover.

If you have any questions about a Florida medical malpractice case, you can always call me directly on my cell at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the internet consultation form on the right.

About the Author

Guy DiMartino

I have loved helping people in need for almost three decades.  It has been my privilege to serve people as their pastor, chiropractor, and lawyer.  The current focus of my legal practice and life’s passion is helping the seriously injured receive complete compensation for their injuries. I am a Florida Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney. What that really means is that I am no stranger to the courtroom.  I have successfully tried and handled serious cases in state and federal courts.  My backgrounds in both law and chiropractic medicine have given me a unique perspective, extensive knowledge, and wide experience to serve those I represent. For years as a chiropractic physician, I treated my patients to alleviate their pain and suffering. Now as their lawyer, I fight to bring them financial compensation for their pain and suffering. During my years of service, I have handled many traumatic injury cases ranging from the traumatic amputation of a limb to brain and spinal cord injury.  I consider it an honor to serve you and your family. When a person entrusts me and I accept to represent them, I don’t take that relationship and responsibility lightly. My approach is that we work as a team. We are partners and our goal is the best outcome for you and your family with the highest level of communication throughout. I am always available by phone or email to discuss my potential representation of your injury case. I handle cases throughout Florida. Education: National University of Health Sciences – BS (1984), DC (1986) Valparaiso University School of Law – JD, summa cum laude (1999) Bar Admissions: Florida (2000), Indiana (1999), Illinois (2000, expired); US District Courts of Appeals (11th Circuit, 7th Circuit); United States District Courts: Southern and Middle Districts of Florida; Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; Northern and Central Districts of Illinois; and District of Colorado. Certification:  Civil Trial, Florida Bar Guy DiMartino on Google+ – Circle Guy on Google+ Guy DiMartino on Google+

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