What to Do About Imaging and X-Ray Misdiagnosis

Posted in: Medical Misdiagnosis | Jan 04,2023

Diagnostic images such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans play a vital role in identifying serious injuries and illnesses. They help inform diagnoses, determine treatment, and save lives. It is essential that the radiologist knows what to look for and correctly interprets the results. Unfortunately, mistakes happen, and as a result, an X-ray misdiagnosis or other misread imaging could leave patients’ conditions untreated to become worse, potentially even life-threatening.

Maybe you sought a second opinion from another doctor who discovered something in your X-ray that the first doctor missed. Or perhaps you learned too late that your doctor made an incorrect diagnosis based on your X-ray or conflicting MRI reports. In any event, the consequences of X-ray mistakes or other misread diagnostic images may end in a lawsuit.

What happens when a radiologist misreads an X-ray?

X-ray misdiagnoses and the most common radiology errors typically fall into two categories: a failure to notice, or a failure to correctly interpret. A radiologist might not perceive an abnormality or other sign of injury or illness in the image. Or, they might notice the abnormality but fail to judge its severity.

Types of medical imaging tests that doctors or radiologists can misread include:

  • X-rays
  • MRIs
  • CT scans
  • Ultrasounds
  • Echocardiograms
  • Mammograms 

If a radiologist, ordering physician, or X-ray technician was negligent in your care, you might have a case for medical malpractice.

Is misreading an x-ray considered malpractice?

An X-ray mistake is not always considered medical malpractice. Malpractice is determined not by whether something went wrong but by whether the doctor or medical professional did everything they could and should have under the unique circumstances of your situation.

In legal terms, malpractice occurs when a medical professional breaches the standard of care for their profession, and a patient suffers harm as a result.

The standard of care is the level and type of care that a medical professional in the same field with similar training would have administered in a similar instance. So, the standard of care is not a hard and fast rule but a concept dependent on each unique case’s circumstances. Due to their high degree of specialty, radiologists are held to an even higher standard of care than other medical professionals.

An experienced attorney can determine and prove whether your X-ray mistake or radiology errors amounted to malpractice. To prove malpractice occurred in your case, lawyers must show that:

  1. The defendant owed you a duty of care. This is usually defined as the existence of a patient-doctor relationship.
  2. The defendant breached the standard of care.
  3. The breach of standard directly caused your injury.
  4. The injury caused you to suffer damages.

What you can do about X-ray misdiagnosis

If you believe your doctor, radiologist, sonographer, or other medical professional misread or misdiagnosed your condition, you’re not alone and have options under Indiana law. A medical malpractice attorney at Montross Miller can review the details of your situation and help you decide the course of action to pursue.

To be best prepared for any potential litigation, document your treatments, medical professional communications, imaging details, and all related costs or damages. All of this information will help your medical malpractice attorney’s initial investigation.

The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act outlines the specific process a victim must follow to bring a successful medical malpractice claim. Attorneys experienced and familiar with the procedures can help you prepare a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance, present your claim to the medical review panel, and prepare your lawsuit. Montross Miller’s lawyers and medical experts are well-versed in complex malpractice cases. They will review your medical records, evaluate whether you have a case, and guide you through the next steps. Contact us to begin your free and confidential case evaluation.