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Failing to Detect a Medical Condition: The Danger of Radiology Mistakes


One of the most important doctors is one who you may never meet: the radiologist. A radiologist uses imaging technology, including x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and mammograms to detect, diagnose, and treat illnesses. Though radiologists are crucial to diagnosis and patient care, a radiologist’s error can be devastating.

The case of Kristen Barnhart shows that a radiologist’s error can be fatal. In September 2011, Mrs. Barnhart underwent a bilateral mammogram, a preventative test designed to detect breast cancer. Her radiologist failed to detect her cancer, and within the year, she was dead. Her husband, Robert Barnhart, brought a lawsuit against the doctor alleging a failure in the duty of care to purchase and maintain the proper equipment, administer the mammogram correctly and read the results of his wife’s test accurately.

In Mrs. Barnhart’s case, it appears her radiologist was a specialist on site with her when the tests were administered. In other cases, the radiologists are hospital staff, or, as is often the case, tele-radiologists who work at night for the hospital, reading test results from off-site, in a different city, state or country. A recent case alleges that a tele-radiologist failed to notice the closing of arteries in the CT scans of a woman with severe abdominal pain.

Radiologist errors can be so costly to the health and life of a patient because they delay or prevent the proper treatment of the patient. Other physicians rely on the radiologist’s report, and are unaware of the nature of the problem that they might otherwise be able to treat. In many cases, when the cancer, the closed arteries or other internal problem is finally detected, it is too late.

Pursuing a claim against a radiologist for the results of their missed diagnoses is a tricky and difficult process. Michael Wilson has years of medical and legal experience that allows him to pursue these claims effectively and help you get a measure of justice.

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