Screening mammography, public perceptions, and medical liability.
Mavroforou A, Mavrophoros D, Michalodimitrakis E
Department of Forensic Sciences, University of Crete Medical School, 40 Daliani Street, 71306 Heraklion, Crete, Greece.
To outline the most common sources of raising malpractice claims in screening mammography and to discuss the related medical litigation issues in the light of the evidence-based medicine.
The most common cause of malpractice is the delayed diagnosis of breast cancer. The plaintiff must establish that the radiologist was negligent and the delay in diagnosis caused injury to the patient. Literature shows that mammography does not always detect breast cancer, and even skilled radiologists may periodically miss malignant lesions. Also, delay in diagnosis does not always affect treatment and prognosis.
Over-promotion of screening mammography has made disproportionately difficult for a defendant radiologist to prevail in a malpractice lawsuit.
Thus, screening mammography is at stake, although it saves lives. The public and legal system should be educated about biological processes, medical practice, and the limitations of screening mammography.
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Eur J Radiol 2005 Nov 28; [Epub ahead of print]