A report published by Coverys, an insurance agency, found that 80 percent of cases of missed radiology diagnosis lead to permanent injury or death for the patient. The report was based on five years’ worth of medical professional liability claims and also noted that 80 percent of all claims related to diagnosis arose from a worker misinterpreting a clinical test. People in West Virginia might want to be aware of this common area of medical errors.

The author of the report, also vice president of business analytics for Coverys, said there was an opportunity to reduce errors in radiology diagnosis in order to improve outcomes for patients and prevent harm. Researchers examined more than 10,000 closed Coverys claims that were filed from 2013 to 2017. According to the report, approximately 15 percent of diagnosis-related malpractice actions involved one or more radiologists. Among claims that alleged errors in diagnostics, misdiagnosis of cancer was the most common. The most prevalent misdiagnosed cancers were those of the lungs, ovaries, breasts and pancreas.

The report went on to make recommendations for radiology departments, including implementation of standardized treatment protocols, development of reporting templates and use of support films. It also suggested that incidental findings be kept separate from the remainder of the imaging report, that checklists be implemented and that clear language be used to avoid misunderstandings.

Individuals who have suffered harm due to a misdiagnosis or other medical error might be entitled to recover for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. An attorney with experience in medical malpractice law may be able to help in such a case by identifying parties that have liability or by gathering evidence in preparation for trial. An attorney might attempt to negotiate settlement with healthcare providers and their insurers or argue on behalf of the client during civil court proceedings.