Imaad ur Rehman, Faiza Javed



Dr Imaad-ur-Rehman, Dr Faiza Javed.



“To err is human” is one of the oldest proverbs in English language and a universal truth that is applicable to human race of all ages. Although human error can never be totally eliminated, yet there are some instances where human error can have very grave consequences and it is desirable that they should be minimized as much as possible. A study performed at John Hopkins University School of Medicine reported that about 250,000 people die each year in the US due to medical errors. These  medical errors constitute the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Radiologist Leo Henry Garland (1903 – 1966) was the pioneer to evaluate  radiologic errors. The prevalence rate of these errors by radiologists does not appear to have changed since they were first estimated in 1960. Today, this rate is around 10 to 15 percent [1]. A review made in 2001 reported that the prevalence of clinically significant errors in radiology was in the range of 2 to 20 percent [2]. Approximately, 1 billion annual radiological examinations are performed and most of the resulting images are interpreted by radiologists. If these interpretations carried an average error rate of only 4% (the lowest estimate for the rate of radiologic error) this would be approximately 40 million radiologist errors per year [1]. In a recent study of second readings performed by experienced abdominal imaging radiologists, they disagreed with each other more than 30% of the time and disagreed with themselves more than 25% of the time [3].

In this article, we wish to highlight the common causes of radiological errors and to give suggestions to decrease possible errors in radiology reports in order to improve patient care and standards of reporting.

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