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Radiologists are sued for failure to diagnose and communicate

Radiologists are responsible for interpreting imaging data and relaying their findings to other doctors. Oregon patients expect for these doctors to correctly read their images and be in contact with their doctors. If there is a failure to diagnose a condition based on the imaging, or if the radiologist fails to maintain communication with other doctors, it could be considered medical malpractice.

If an abnormality is not properly interpreted or missed all together by a radiologist, it could delay a patient being given the proper treatment. In some cases, this could result in serious and/or permanent injury to the patient -- or even death. The longer it takes to diagnose some conditions, such as cancer, the chances of survival decrease.

Even if the images are read correctly, communicating with other doctors seems to be another area where radiologists run into trouble. One source indicates that it is such a problem that courts are looking to see whether radiologists followed up with referring physicians even weeks after reporting their findings to them. If there is not adequate contact and follow up when an abnormality is found, it is the patient who suffers.

Therefore, Oregon patients who believe that a radiologist's failure to diagnose an abnormality and/or failure to adequately communicate it to the referring physician caused serious and/or permanent injury -- or led to the death of a loved one -- might be able to file a medical malpractice claim. These cases can quickly become complex and it would be inadvisable not to seek out the advice and assistance of an attorney. If the court rules that the care the patient received was below accepted standards, an award of damages could be entered on behalf of the victim and/or the victim's family.

Source:, "Malpractice in Radiology", Liza Haar, April 11, 2016

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