One statistic indicates that as many as 90 percent of the country's radiologists will be the subject of at least one lawsuit by the time they reach the age of 65. Radiology ranks number eight among the medical professions that are likely to be implicated in a medical malpractice claim. This means that if an Oregon patient files such a claim, a radiologist could be part of it.
Establishing that a radiologist owed a duty of care to a patient could be as simple as another professional asking a question. For example, if a patient having a CT scan done breaks out in hives, and a technician consults with the radiologist, that doctor now owes a duty to the patient. If the doctor fails to investigate, he or she could be accused of breaching that duty.
That is not the end of the story, however. An Oregon court will need to determine if such a breach caused the patient serious, permanent or fatal injury. In some cases, a radiologist can be found guilty of malpractice for not communicating all of his or her findings -- regardless of whether they relate to the immediate issue. For example, a radiologist can be asked to look for one thing, but if there is something else present, that also needs to be reported if it could adversely affect a patient's health at some future point.
No radiological reading is insignificant. If it is discovered that a patient's radiologist failed to report a finding for some reason, that could serve as the basis for a medical malpractice claim seeking restitution for the injuries that oversight cost. If the court agrees that the radiologist breached his or her duty to the patient, the damages sought could be awarded.
Source: diagnosticimaging.com, "Radiologists, Expect to Get Sued", Liza Haar, March 3, 2016