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You go on a ski trip and are injured. While your friends are on the slopes, you're in a hospital emergency room getting x-rays. The radiologist tells you not to worry, it's just a normal break and your ankle should heal up just fine in no time.
But that turns out not to be the case and you learn later that the radiologist read your x-ray wrong. Can you sue for medical malpractice? Yes, if you are injured due to the error. Radiologists are doctors with specialized training in the use of imaging and they are liable for medical malpractice.
What Do Radiologists Do?
Radiologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries using medical imaging techniques, such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and ultrasound. To practice their profession, they must graduate from accredited medical schools, pass a licensing examination, and complete a 4-year residency related to radiation and imaging.
According to the American College of Radiology (ACR), "Radiologist physicians are usually board certified by the American Board of Radiology (for a doctor of medicine) or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology (for an osteopathic doctor); an indication of a high level of training, and demonstrated excellence in the field."
The ACR warns that radiological procedures are medically prescribed and may only be done by appropriately trained and certified physicians when medically necessary. Radiologist physicians have 4-6 years of unique, specific, post-medical school training that includes radiation safety and ensure the optimal performance of radiological procedures and interpretation of medical images.
Radiologist Medical Malpractice
Radiologist medical malpractice is not limited to misreading X-rays. In many cases, however, patients encounter radiologists in the context of image interpretation. If the radiologist's work falls below the standard of care generally expected for the profession in the place where they work, then they may be liable for medical malpractice.
Interpreting images in order to diagnose injury and illness is a critical aspect of medical care. Radiologists are in no way exempt from the standards of care of the medical profession. They have special training because patients rely on them to do a particularly important job. Failures on the part of a radiologist can lead to serious problems for a patient, either because the proper treatment is delayed or ignored, or for other reasons.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured because a radiologist incorrectly interpreted your medical circumstances causing delay in treatment -- or for any other reason -- speak to a lawyer. Many attorneys will consult for free or no fee.