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Coverys reveals trends in radiology-related malpractice

Florida residents who will be undergoing X-rays or other radiological procedures will want to know about the findings of a study by Coverys, the medical liability insurance provider. Researchers studied more than 10,000 closed claims alleging radiology-related malpractice. These claims spanned the years 2013 to 2017 and mostly involved missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses.

Researchers found that 80 percent of the claims were due to misinterpretations of clinical tests. They also discovered that more than 80 percent of missed diagnoses ended in permanent injuries or death. Most of the allegations were aimed at general medicine providers, followed by radiologists (15 percent of the diagnosis-related claims). Cancer, especially of the breasts, lungs, pancreas and ovaries, made up the majority of misdiagnosed conditions.

One of the problems seems to be that pathologists and radiologists are not being engaged by diagnostic teams as often as they should. According to the Institute of Medicine, these professionals have a crucial role in determining an accurate diagnosis. Coverys also believes that certain practices make it easy for errors to be made.

Researchers recommend certain steps to reduce this risk, including the standardization of treatment protocols and the use of clear language to avoid misunderstandings. They also encourage the use of reporting templates and implementation of checklists. Incidental findings and doctors' recommendations should be separate from the imaging report.

If a doctor fails to live up to an objective level of care and commits an error, the victim may be able to file a malpractice claim and be covered for losses like past medical expenses, rehabilitative care, lost wages and pain and suffering. In some cases, it can be hard to determine the extent of the injuries. Because of this, victims may want to consult with an attorney. The lawyer might be able to handle all negotiations and even speak on the victim's behalf in court.

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