Defending the radiologist in a medical malpractice case poses unique challenges. The plaintiff’s attorney has the benefit of later-stage imaging and the patient’s presumably bad outcome, both of which will be used to persuade a jury that some abnormality on earlier imaging scans conducted on the same location was missed.
For example, defendant radiologists often face the allegation of failing to detect a malignancy on a screening mammogram. To prevail against such a claim, the physician who interpreted the diagnostic study must be able to demonstrate that the imaging was appropriately evaluated and the finding in question was not present at the time — or, that it was so subtle it could only be appreciated with the benefit of hindsight.
The successful defense of a failure to diagnose breast cancer case begins with a well-documented radiology report, including conforming to the BI-RADS reporting system recommended by the American College of Radiology (ACR).The breast imager may also benefit from documenting the use of computer-aided detection (CAD).