Another argument for patient's access to their test results

Leonard Berlin lberlin at LIVE.COM
Mon Apr 21 13:39:23 UTC 2014

There is no question that the technologists's actions were far worse than negligent -- they were blatantly criminal.  I cannot figure out how the mammography facility (I'm not sure whether it's a hospital or not) allowed this to happen.  A radiologist is required to interpret every mammogram, but in this case it appears (although available facts are vague) that the tech herself routinely classified these mammograms as "normal," without a radiologist ever seeing them.  Federal  law mandates that mammography facilities send to every patient who has undergone a mammography exam a summary  written in lay language of her mammographic report.  I presume that the 1000-plus women received letters stating their mammograms were normal.  Indeed, a terrible situation!  It is inexcusable that the facility had so little oversight and supervision that it allowed a situation like this to occur.
Leonard Berlin, MD, FACR
Radiology department, Skokie Hospital
Skokie, IL;
Professor of Radiology
Rush University, and
University of Illinois
Chicago, IL
> Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 23:02:50 -0400
> From: Mark.Graber at VA.GOV
> Subject: [IMPROVEDX] Another argument for patient's access to their test results
> In a very disturbing story this week, a radiology tech was accused of notifying 1000+ women that their mammagrams were normal, although she didn't know this to be true, and some in fact were not.
> Its my understanding that all women are supposed to receive a copy of their test result, and its not exactly clear from this report if the tech just gave women a verbal 'ok', or if she actually altered the radiologist's report.  This is a class of diagnostic error I've never encountered before, but I'm hoping that the directly-mailed results mitigated the tech's false assurances.  If anyone has access to more facts on this case, I'd be interested to hear them.
> Mark L Graber, MD FACP
> Senior Fellow, RTI International
> Professor Emeritus, SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine
> Founder and President, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine
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