Radiologists May be Reluctant to Admit Medical Errors to Patients
In a recent article in the medical journal Radiology, a study of several hundred radiologists reveals that mammographers may be reluctant to reveal medical mistakes, even if the mistakes relate to potential risk of breast cancer.
In the study the radiologists were given a hypothetical question. They were asked to assume that films were read out of order; that the calcifications in the films were actually increasing and not decreasing, and that they discovered the mistake after initially reading and reporting the results to their patients. Calcifications may be associated with the growth of breast tumors.
Only 14% of the physicians said they would definitely disclose the error. Twenty-six percent said they would probably report the error. The rest would either disclosed the error only if asked by the patient, or not at all.
In the hypothetical conversations with the patients after the mistake was revealed, only 15% of the doctors polled would admit that they made a mistake during the reading of the films.
Failure to diagnose breast cancer due to mammography errors is a common cause of medical malpractice claims, and almost half of the doctors in the study had been party to a suit alleging negligence.
The authors concluded that even though there is a trend towards more physician openness regarding mistakes, disclosure is “the exception, not the rule.”
Radiology: Radiologists reluctant to disclose mammo errors to patients. www.healthimaging.com. October 30, 2009.
If You Have Suffered a Cancer Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer
Unfortunately, delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis of cancer are among the more common causes of patient injury and medical malpractice claims. If you or a loved one has had a misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis, our Massachusetts lawyers can help evaluate your case. Please feel to contact us for a free consultation on your potential medical malpractice claim. Our toll free number is 800-379-1244. We look forward to assisting you.