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Radiologists are involved in 15% of diagnosis-related medical malpractice claims, second only to those of general medicine health care providers, according to a new report.

Claims naming a radiologist — totaling 595 in 2013-2017 — often involve significant patient harm and most frequently allege an incorrect or delayed diagnosis of a patient’s condition, according to an analysis of closed claims at Boston-based medical professional liability insurer Coverys published Tuesday. Of the claims against radiologists, 80% of the missed diagnoses are alleged to have resulted from the misinterpretation of clinical tests

“Among radiology claims alleging diagnostic failure, cancer diagnoses are the most frequent,” Coverys’ Red Signal report stated. “The top four cancer conditions associated with the alleged misinterpretation of diagnostic tests are breast, lung, pancreatic and ovarian. Many claims allege that a lack of follow-up on abnormal test results, such as from radiology or primary care, leads to a high-severity patient injury.”

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