Expert witnesses provide an important service in malpractice cases in the United States because they educate the jury on the standards of care relevant to a particular case. In cases in which the defendant physician is a radiologist, the decision often rests on whether a retrospectively detected abnormality should have been perceived and reported, an “error of omission.” Errors of omission are usually termed “perceptual” in the literature and are the most common cause of malpractice suits in radiology. Allegations often hinge on whether these errors represent a breach of duty by the defendant radiologist and whether they resulted in an injury to the plaintiff or patient. In short, jurors are asked to decide if the radiologist performed below the “standard of care,” generally defined as that which a minimally competent, reasonable, or ordinary physician in the same field would do under similar circumstances. The authors describe challenges associated with being an expert witness and provide guidance to radiologists on how to address cases involving alleged perceptual errors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging