When you seek treatment for a medical condition, doctors will often need to perform lab work and have tests run to determine what’s wrong. In many cases, this means getting X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other tests from a radiologist. In some cases, the diagnosis is so dependent on what the radiologist sees on the scans that the medical team’s diagnosis – and course of treatment – could change completely if the radiologist was wrong. Fayetteville, AR medical malpractice lawyer Ken Kieklak explains how you can often sue a radiologist for worsened conditions and harm you face from misdiagnoses in Arkansas.
Whom Do You Sue if the Radiologist Misdiagnoses Your Condition in Arkansas?
If you have pain or are suffering from some kind of illness and your doctor needs to determine what is wrong, they might order tests and scans that a radiologist would perform. Typically, the treating physician handling your case will be your primary care provider or a medical or surgical doctor at the hospital. The radiologist usually only steps in as part of your medical team to perform and interpret the scan, then they will usually consult with your central physician to help them understand what they saw on the scan. In many cases, this collaboration can be confusing for patients, because it becomes unclear whose fault the mistakes are when a scan is misread and an incorrect diagnosis is made.
Suing the Radiologist
In most cases, the radiologist will be able to give some sort of statement or diagnosis about what they see on the scans. This could range from a determination that a shadow on a CT scan is a brain tumor to a determination that an MRI of your knee shows a torn meniscus. Even if the radiologist is only participating in your care for a short time to perform a scan and interpret the results, they still must provide adequate levels of care and attention to your treatment. If they misinterpret the scan, they should be held individually responsible for those mistakes and the results that stem from it.
Suing the Treating Physician
Your primary physician at the center of your treatment also shares some responsibility in most cases. The radiologist will usually report back to your treating physician and explain the results of the test. It is then up to your treating physician to decide whether the radiologist’s results match with other tests and clinical observations. If your physician is able to determine that the radiologist made a mistake, they can usually order scans to be done again and avoid mistakes from seeping into the diagnosis. Your treating physician is often the one to make the final diagnosis and treatment plan, and if they fail to catch mistakes that they should have caught, that can put them at fault for the misdiagnosis as well.
Suing the Hospital
Ultimately, when filing a lawsuit against at-fault medical professionals for misdiagnosis and other mistakes, your Arkansas personal injury lawyers can file the case against all physicians who participated in your treatment as well as the hospital they work for. Many radiologists and treating physicians at the hospital are employees of the same hospital network, so you can often sue them and the hospital all at once in a medical malpractice lawsuit. If any of those doctors were in private practice, you can still usually still sue each of them together for their fair share of the fault in your misdiagnosis, but you might not have a case against the hospital itself unless the errors involved equipment issues or hospital employees.
Damages for Misdiagnosis by a Radiologist in Arkansas
If you are given an incorrect diagnosis by a radiologist, you could end up facing surgeries and other treatments that you do not need, all the while having your actual condition go untreated. This can result in a few different forms of harm, most of which result in medical expenses, lost time at work, and pain and suffering that you can receive compensation for. You could also get damages for lost chance at recovery and improvement. Alternatively, if a loved one died because of a missed diagnosis, other wrongful death damages might be appropriate. These are only a few examples of some of the core harms you face from misdiagnosis:
Unnecessary Surgeries and Treatments
If your radiologist found a “shadow” on a scan or otherwise determined that you might have a tumor, a tear, or something else that might be “operable,” you could undergo surgeries that you do not actually need if the radiologist made a mistake. Similarly, especially with tumors and cancer misdiagnoses, you could face unnecessary chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other harmful treatments. If you do not actually have the condition these procedures are used to treat, you would suffer unnecessary harm.
Delayed or Denied Treatment
If you do not have a diagnosis that covers your actual condition, that condition might go untreated. If your radiologist gave you an affirmative diagnosis for the wrong condition, you might face treatments that do not cut at the core of what is wrong with you. While some treatments might coincidentally help both the real condition and the misdiagnosed condition, the lack of focus on your actual condition could allow your condition to worsen and make it harder to treat later.
Emotional Distress from Misdiagnosis
If you are given a wrongful diagnosis, you could face serious emotional distress and mental anguish from that diagnosis. Many misdiagnosis cases involving radiological errors see patients being told that they have cancer or tumors that could potentially kill them. If this is wrong, that unnecessary stress and fear can be extremely damaging.
Call Our Arkansas Misdiagnosis Lawyer for a Free Case Consultation
If you or a loved one was misdiagnosed with cancer or another serious condition because of mistakes committed by your radiologist or your treating physician, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today. Our Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer represents victims of medical malpractice or misdiagnosis and their families in lawsuits against doctors and hospitals to recover financial compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact us today at (479) 316-0438.