Everyone in California should know about the issues around military medical malpractice. Military law is very different from civilian law, and that includes medical malpractice. For years, it was difficult for soldiers to get any justice if they were misdiagnosed, and many were, especially when it came to radiology images.
Interpretive errors in radiology
Radiology is a field of medicine dealing with x-rays and other forms of radiation. Radiology is commonly used for imaging, and also sometimes for the treatment of diseases. While radiology is a carefully calibrated, highly scientific field, there is an element of human interpretation present that means some error is always possible.
Some of the causes of misinterpreted x-rays are cognitive. This means they’re related to issues like expertise and bias. For example, if a clinician spends all day studying one issue or disease, they may be primed to see it everywhere they look. Other errors can be chalked up to more simple human motivations like mood. Tired, overextended radiologists are more likely to make misinterpretations than well-rested ones.
The advent of AI
Luckily, there’s a fix for both of these issues in the pipeline. As artificial intelligence becomes ever more powerful, it’s being used for diagnostics. In the past, some soldiers’ lives were damaged because their lung cancers were diagnosed as pneumonias. It’s hoped that, in the near future, AI will lead to fewer instances of military medical malpractice such as these.
Artificial intelligence will never replace scientists. But it will allow radiology departments to minimize both errors and administration costs. Though there will always be radiologists, AI will be a great way for them to check results and avoid big errors that could result in litigation.