In March 2015, a West Virginia couple field a West Virginia medical malpractice case against two radiologists and others for their alleged failure to timely diagnose the man’s T-8 fracture from radiology studies taken at a local hospital. As a result, the plaintiffs allege that the man was deprived of the opportunity to undergo surgery to repair his T-8 fracture that would have led to his recovery from the fracture. The plaintiffs seek both compensatory and punitive damages from the West Virginia medial malpractice defendants.
The Alleged Underlying Facts
The man had fallen about one month before he went to the emergency room. At the time of his fall, he had fractured three ribs. Two weeks later, he developed left chest pain.
Then, on December 26, 2011, the man was brought by ambulance to a local West Virginia hospital, complaining of severe chest pain and back spasms that prevented him from walking or changing position. He told the emergency room physician that his severe back spasms were accompanied by pulling sensations in his back and ribs that caused pain when he breathed and were worse when he attempted to change position. The emergency room physician ordered various radiology studies: a chest CTA scan (computed tomography angiography, to look at blood vessels), chest AP/PA, lateral x-ray/ribs AP/PA, and oblique x-rays.
The plaintiffs’ West Virginia medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the two radiologists who interpreted the radiology studies failed to diagnose the T-8 fracture that was shown on the CTA scan, and that they noted only degenerative changes in the thoracic spine in their reports.
The man was discharged to home from the hospital but continued to have severe pain. On December 28, 2012 (just over one year later), a physician ordered further x-rays that were interpreted by one of the radiologists who had interpreted his December 2011 radiology studies. This time, the radiologist allegedly diagnosed the T-8 fracture and commented that the fracture had progressed when compared to the earlier radiology studies. It was not until January 3, 2013 that the man learned for the first time that he had suffered a T-8 fracture.
Medical malpractice claims against radiologists regarding their interpretation of radiology studies often involve allegations that the radiologist misread or misinterpreted a radiology study (typically involving a condition that was visible in a radiology image). Unlike other medical malpractice cases that must rely on medical records written by health care providers that may not contain accurate information, whether intentional or unintentional, radiology medical malpractice claims often focus on the films or electronic images obtained at the time of the studies. While certain nuances in the images may be subject to varying interpretations, many times the archived images either support the interpreting radiologist’s findings or support a finding of medical negligence committed by the radiologist.
If you or a family member may have suffered serious injury (or worse) due to radiologist malpractice, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your radiology malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice claim against a radiologist, if appropriate.
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