Radiologists overestimate their overall risk of malpractice lawsuits in breast imaging

Feb 02, 2009

Radiologists who work in breast imaging tend to overestimate their actual risk of medical malpractice lawsuits, according to a study performed at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Seattle, WA.

The study included two separate surveys, one in 2002 and one in 2006 that asked radiologists in diverse regions of the US two questions: Have you ever had a previous malpractice claim related to mammography? And what do you think is your future probability of being sued in the next five years? Results showed that "the radiologist's median estimate for the likelihood of being sued was four times higher than their actual risk," said Joann G. Elmore, MD, lead author of the study. In 2002, a radiologist's perceived risk of being sued in the next five years was 41% and in 2006 was 35%. The actual percentage of radiologists who reported malpractice claims five years prior to 2002 was 8% and the actual percentage of radiologists who reported malpractice claims five years prior to the 2006 survey was 10%. "Their perception of risk is much higher than the reported reality," she said.

"Failure to detect breast cancer has been the leading cause of medical malpractice lawsuits. Malpractice litigation has a direct effect on healthcare delivery in the US and ultimately may influence the way we practice medicine," said Dr. Elmore. "Under such circumstances, doctors are turning to defensive medicine, where we order more tests to make certain we aren't missing something," she said.

Workforce shortages in breast imaging may also be considered the result of a physician's perceived risk of malpractice lawsuits. "We have seen fewer residents interested in going into breast imaging, partially because of their perceived risk of being sued," said Dr. Elmore.

This study appears in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Source: American Roentgen Ray Society

Explore further: German firm wins appeal in Spain thalidomide case

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Even the latest malware detection systems can be bypassed

36 minutes ago

Unwanted intruders are finding it more and more difficult to hack computer systems and networks thanks to today's advanced detection technologies. With the help of emulation-based technologies, many attacks ...

Scientists identify "naïve-like" human stem cell

36 minutes ago

Scientists from our university and Berlin have identified a type of human stem cell that appears to be "naïve-like" – able to develop into any type of cell. The discovery of this cell type could potentially ...

Turning humble seaweed into biofuel

46 minutes ago

The sea has long been a source of Norway's riches, whether from cod, farmed salmon or oil. Now one researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) researcher hopes to add seaweed ...

Recommended for you

German firm wins appeal in Spain thalidomide case

3 hours ago

A Spanish court on Wednesday accepted a German pharmaceutical company's appeal against a ruling that had ordered it to pay compensation to 22 Spaniards who blame their disabilities on the drug thalidomide.

New MCAT shifts focus, will include humanities

Oct 20, 2014

(HealthDay)—The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) has been revised, and the latest changes, including more humanities such as social sciences, are due to be implemented next April, according to a report ...

User comments : 0