The Law Offices of John Phebus

Radiologists have very low rate of success detecting hernias

A patient in Arizona complaining of abdominal or pelvic pain might have to rely on what a surgeon hears from the radiologist for a diagnosis. When a surgeon suspects a hernia and orders a CT scan, only 7 percent might be detected by the radiologist. A review of 159 radiology reports of people known to have hernias produced this low figure.

The study looked at scans for people who had occult hernias or palpable inguinal hernias. Among those reports for patients whose hernias could be felt, radiologists still only found 25 percent of them on the CT scans. When radiologists interpreted MRI scans, the results improved somewhat. For occult hernias, radiologists saw 33 percent of them, and they detected 41 percent of palpable hernias.

A surgeon and hernia specialist said that the poor results might be blamed on a lack of specificity in the scan instructions. She said that a surgeon might only write "pelvic pain" on the order but should instead express a suspicion for an occult inguinal hernia and point out the region of pain such as "left-sided pelvic pain." This information would inform the radiologists on where to look and what to look for. Additionally, she recommended that surgeons establish relationships with their radiologists and discuss scans whenever possible.

The diagnosis of a serious condition often relies on the collaboration of health care providers. A breakdown in standards of care and professionalism at any level might result in medical malpractice. A person harmed by medical professional negligence like an anesthesia error, wrong-site surgery or delayed diagnosis might work with an attorney to pursue compensation for medical bills, pain and lost income. Outside medical professionals could be consulted by the attorney and provide testimony for a lawsuit. Representation in court might also be handled by the attorney.

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