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Radiologist Liability for Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

Some cancers are identified with blood tests or by visual inspection. But many require imaging tests like X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) to fully identify. Radiologists are medical professionals tasked with reviewing the results of imaging tests and diagnosing patients with medical conditions, including cancer.

If your medical team missed your cancer, then the radiologist could be to blame. As we know, radiologist mistakes are relatively common, and innocent people suffer horrible pain and suffering when their cancer advances without treatment. Please contact Powers & Santola, LLP, to discuss your situation. One of our Albany delayed cancer diagnosis lawyers can review your medical records and identify whether a careful radiologist would have made a timely diagnosis.

Radiologists and Medical Malpractice

When a radiologist has failed to follow the correct standard of care, cancer patients suffer serious injuries. If your cancer is undiagnosed, it obviously is not being treated. It can grow and spread. Patients suffer physical pain when the cancer presses on bones or nerves, or when it migrates to other organs. A patient also will need more aggressive treatment than if their team had caught the cancer early.

Radiologists are a critical member of your diagnostic team. However, some estimates put radiological errors at around 10%, which is very high. As a result, the rest of your team fails to give you needed treatment because they are unaware that you have cancer.

Some common mistakes include:

  • Misinterpreting radiological tests
  • Failing to review tests
  • Lacking knowledge of how to interpret a test
  • Communication errors
  • Failing to follow up with the medical team

Radiologists and the Standard of Care

Radiologists are highly trained medical professionals. Like other doctors, they first obtain an undergraduate degree before graduating from medical school. Aspiring radiologists then complete a residency program, which can last up to 7 years. Any doctor also must pass licensing exams at the state and federal level before they can begin to practice.

Radiologists are also qualified by the American Board of Radiology. There are many radiology specialties, including:

  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Nuclear radiology
  • Pediatric radiology

As experienced medical professionals, radiologists must use the same skill and care as other competent radiologists when doing their jobs. That means that they must carefully review any imaging tests and notify your primary physician or cancer team of the results. They should also recommend additional tests if they believe the results are unclear.

When a radiologist fails to diagnose cancer, we always must ask, “What would a competent radiologist have done in a similar situation?” For example, a competent radiologist might have identified a cancerous growth, ordered additional tests, or communicated with your medical team about the results sooner than they did.

Radiologists regularly fail to diagnose cancer. Their diagnosis can be delayed, or they might never make a diagnosis at all. Instead, a different radiologist at a different hospital might look at the same tests and correctly diagnose you with cancer. Consequently, those suffering from many of the most common cancers can suffer unnecessarily: 

  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Brain cancer

A radiologist has committed medical malpractice when their mistake delays the proper diagnosis of your cancer. Consequently, the cancer is much harder to treat, and there is a greater risk of spread and possibly death. 

Bringing a Malpractice Claim Against a Radiologist

Radiologists owe patients a duty of care, and they breach this duty when they don’t perform their jobs with the skill and care we expect of other radiologists in New York. Powers & Santola, LLP, is pleased to offer legal services to those injured by substandard medical care.

New York makes it difficult to sue any doctor for malpractice. The state has created a statute of limitations which has an unforgiving deadline that you absolutely must meet. Also, you need to submit a certificate of merit when you file a lawsuit (or shortly after). This requirement is designed to weed out frivolous lawsuits. The certificate states that a licensed doctor has reviewed the facts and finds that there is a reasonable basis for a lawsuit.

Expert witnesses play a key role in any delayed diagnosis case. We need to show that the defendant acted negligently. Typically, the expert witness has impressive credentials and can speak about how a careful radiologist would have acted in a similar situation. Without this evidence, a jury is left to guess about what the radiologist should have done.

Some radiologist errors are easier to prove than others. For example, if they never contacted your doctor about a test result, then they have violated their duty of care. Other mistakes are murkier, such as whether a tumor is really visible on a test result.

We Can Pull Together Your Legal Case

Powers & Santola knows how to gather helpful evidence when bringing a legal claim against any medical professional, including a radiologist. We can request copies of your medical records and then review them with the help of our expert legal team. We might also interview your medical providers to uncover other information.

Many medical mistakes are the result of carelessness. But sometimes systemic issues in a hospital contribute to the mistake, such as chronic understaffing or overwork, faulty communication and data collection systems, drug abuse or alcoholism, and outdated equipment. We strive to get to the bottom of why a radiologist did not correctly diagnose your cancer. You deserve answers.

If we are successful with your legal claim, you should receive compensation to cover the pain and inconvenience you experience as a side effect, especially where your cancer has advanced. Other damages include loss of income and benefits, as well as hospital bills for medical care.

Speak with Our Albany Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Lawyers Today

Many patients injured by a delayed diagnosis feel anger, helplessness, and confusion. Any emotion you feel is normal. No one should judge you, because no one has walked in your shoes. This is a very difficult time, but the lawyers at Powers & Santola are here to help. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your case and your legal right to compensation.

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