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Study Shows Radiology Errors Up 43 Percent

Employees who have personal injury or workers' compensation claims rely on accurate medical testing to determine the extent of the injuries they have suffered. In addition to helping ensure that they receive appropriate medical care to help them recover more fully, the medical tests help to establish the actual extent of the injuries and the amount of compensation or benefits to which they may be entitled.

Unfortunately, some commonly used tests, such as radiology and other forms of medical imaging technology, may not be as reliable as previously thought.

One Patient Plus 10 Imaging Centers Equaled Numerous Errors

According to a recent study published in The Spine Journal (the official journal of the North American Spine Society), an alarming number of diagnostic errors were noted during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures on the same patient over a testing period of just three weeks.

Even more alarming is the fact that the patient underwent these imaging procedures (an MRI of the lower back) at 10 different imaging centers during the noted three-week time span.

Errors of this type are particularly disturbing because a broad range of results, such as the ones this patient received, could easily result in a person receiving too little or too much treatment, including invasive procedures such as surgery.

In addition to improper diagnosis and treatment, patients who receive erroneous diagnostic procedures, such as MRIs and other types of imaging, may experience complications ranging from annoying to very serious. These complications might include far longer recovery periods, increased pain and discomfort, extended time off work and possible loss of substantial amounts of income.

How Radiology Errors Occur

When radiology errors occur, they may not be caused by a failure of just one part of the imaging procedure. Instead, these errors could result from a variety of issues, including:

  • Misread scans, images or X-rays
  • Miscommunication between the various lab technicians, pathologists and radiologists
  • Errors in filing the imaging test results properly to ensure they remain associated with the correct patient

What You Should Do

Diagnostic error rates are now thought to be as high as 43 percent, raising the very real question of medical malpractice. If you feel you may have been the victim of this type of erroneous diagnostic procedure, you should take steps to learn about your rights under the law. Consider talking with a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice and other types of personal injury cases.

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