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Understanding how x-rays may be misinterpreted

Many of the Queens residents that come to see us here at Futterman, Sirotkin and Seinfeld, LLP indicate a sense of surprise when they learned that their doctors misdiagnosed them. When you are involved in accident or are feeling sick, you may go to your local emergency room or doctor’s office expecting that your provider may not able to see the direct cause of your pain. Yet if radiological images are obtained, then you likely anticipate that he or she, given his or her experience, will be able to correctly analyze such scans and identify your problem. Even with the benefit of advanced imaging resources, however, statistics show that doctors can still misinterpret x-rays.

Just how pervasive is the problem of imaging scan misinterpretations? Study data shared by the National Institutes of Health showed the error rate among radiologists to be around 3-5 percent in their everyday practices. The same study listed the common causes of misinterpretations attributed to radiologists to be:

  •          Overlooking an identifiable abnormality
  •          Improperly communicating the findings of an interpretation
  •          Not having adequate imaging resources to properly scan a patient
  •          Attributing an abnormality to an incorrect cause
  •          A lack of knowledge

How are you to know if any of these factors may have contributed to your missed or misdiagnosis? A review of your treating physician’s notes or those of the radiologist that reviewed your scans may yield the details needed to support a misinterpretation claim. If such documentation does not point to any of these potential causes, then you may want to reexamine it to look for indictors of staffing issues, such as the lack of availability of a qualified radiologist to review your scans.

You can find more information on discovering the cause of a misdiagnosis by continuing to explore our site. 

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