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What standards must radiologists follow to avoid a misdiagnosis?

When you visit your doctor in Providence, he or she should take the time to listen to whatever issues or symptoms you may be experiencing, and then come up with a preliminary diagnose based off of that information. However, in many cases, imaging studies may be required to either confirm or disprove his or her suspicions. An improper interpretation of your radiologic images could potentially lead your doctor to miss or misdiagnose your problem. If and when that happens, who is then responsible for the error: your doctor or the radiologist?

You would expect a licensed radiologist to be able to accurately assess your problem based upon what he or she is seeing in your scans. Even so, standards have been set forth outlining the best practices to prevent errors that could compromise care. For example, The American College of Radiology clearly states in its list of standards for General Radiography that all diagnostic imaging must obtained under the supervision of a physician with the appropriate radiologic licensing. It goes on further to outline the approved technique for obtaining images. Some of these are directly aimed at limiting the potential for misinterpretation, such as:

  •          Labeling all scans with the correct patient and facility information, the anatomical site scanned, and the date the image was taken.  
  •          Having information on hand regarding the techniques and exposure factors needed to achieve high-quality images on patients of all builds.
  •          Reviewing all images for diagnostic quality before a patient is discharged.
  •          Having adequate immobilization equipment to ensure the ability to capture quality images on combative patients.

If it is shown that the imaging staff or department at the facility you were treated at does not meet these standards, they could be held liable in the event that the images they produced contributed to your misdiagnosis

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