OJRad  Vol.8 No.2 , June 2018
Trends in Radiology-Related Medical Lawsuits Identified by a Legal Database Search
Background: The number of medical lawsuits has been increasing in Japan. This research aimed to clarify trends in radiology-related cases based on a database search of lawsuits and to consider how to avoid the problems that lead to these kinds of lawsuits. Decrease of radiology-related medical lawsuits makes radiologists work more comfortable. Materials and Methods: The Japanese court case search system “D1-Law.com”, a comprehensive database that includes 29,000 laws and 210,000 precedents, was used to search for relevant lawsuits. The primary (α) keyword was related to radiology. A search was conducted as “α” × “medical” × “compensation for damages” for the period from 1 January 1965 through 30 September 2013. Basic information on 3383 extracted lawsuits was examined. Of these, 35 cases directly related to radiologists were selected, and the judgments or outcomes were investigated. All cases were classified by modality (type of treatment), whether damages were awarded in each modality, and whether the litigation issues were related to procedure, informed consent (IC), diagnosis, or interpretation. Court judgments were analyzed to determine whether a causal relationship was established and how that affected the outcome. Results: The number of lawsuits gradually increased in the 1980s and 1990s and then began to decrease slightly in the 2000s. Interventional radiology (IVR) had the greatest number of cases and greatest number where compensation was awarded. No characteristic trends were identified with regard to litigation issues. There was a tendency to reject cases where no causal relationship was recognized and the treatment was considered appropriate. Conclusion: Mistakes in IVR procedures, lesions overlooked during image interpretation, and misdiagnoses were the main causes of litigation. In IVR, it is important to improve techniques and establish improved communication and trust with patients before and after therapy. In addition to developing methods to prevent overlooking lesions, the adequacy of all diagnoses obtained from radiological images must be carefully reviewed. Results of our study require the radiologists careful and precise image interpretation and intimate relationship with the patients in addition to a certain technique when performing IVR.
Cite this paper
Yamashiro, Y. , Kuwabara, H. and Kuwatsuru, R. (2018) Trends in Radiology-Related Medical Lawsuits Identified by a Legal Database Search. Open Journal of Radiology, 8, 65-73. doi: 10.4236/ojrad.2018.82008.
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