Errors that Occur in Radiological Scans

While we don’t like to think of them happening, it’s true that radiological errors do happen on a regular basis, in fact, much more often than we realize. Some of them are not reported and even those that are reported go by without any action being taken. Mistakes and errors occur more during interpretation of scans rather than during their reading, and this is because:

• The human eye and sense of judgment are unable to keep pace with the rapid advances that are taking place in medical technology, especially in diagnostic tools.

• Different radiologists and medical professionals read results differently, leading to varying interpretations of radiological scans that were taken with similar technology.

• The level of knowledge of most radiology trainees is inadequate and their training incomplete.

• Some errors occur because of poor techniques and carelessness in obtaining and reviewing radiographs.

• And in the worst case scenarios, errors occur because of patient-scan mix ups where the negligence of healthcare professionals leads to one patient’s scan report being confused with another’s. This could happen because the reports were labeled wrongly or because the medical professional was just plain careless.
Radiological errors end up being costly not just for the patients who lose their health and even their lives because of misdiagnosis and wrongful surgeries, but also for the medical profession as a whole. The rising number of medical malpractice suits that are being filed cost the healthcare industry millions of dollars as well as its reputation – instead of saving lives, errors are contributing to ruining them.

This makes it imperative that efforts be made to bring down the incidence of errors in the field of diagnosis and radiology. And one way to reduce the occurrence of errors is to use computers to analyze results, especially in places where image details can be described accurately and completely. Even though these ideas are put forward, they are hardly feasible in the present day or even at any point in the near future. This means that errors can be brought down only through adequate training and standardization of methods and techniques.

This post was not written by Frith Law Firm attorneys but by Shannon Wills, who writes on the topic of x ray tech schools. She welcomes you comments at her email id: or her blog –

About the author

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at

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