j. Document Your Findings Credibly. The radiologist's documentation should
be of good quality, even if it entails repeating some of the study. Ultrasound protocols
should be strictly adhered to. Pathology seen in fluoroscopy should be documented so
others can see what you mean.
k. Take Necessary Precautions to Prevent Patient Falls. Simple measures
taken by the x-ray technologist, like making sure that rails are up and patients are
watched while they are in the radiology department, are crucial. An especially
vulnerable time is when the radiographer is developing films and the patient is
unattended. Remember that slip-and-fall cases constitute the largest category of
patient suits. And, it doesn't matter how competent a radiologist or an x-ray technologist
you are. Vigilant enforcement of simple precautionary measures is what counts as far
as reducing the number of slip-and-fall cases.
I. Keep Abreast of New Developments in Your Field. Pay particular
attention to the subspecialties you practice. Read a medicolegal journal regularly to
become aware of the legal trends in your area of practice. (As stated earlier, a failure to
use the most current medical knowledge and scientific methods can constitute a
deviation from the accepted standard of care and, thus, a basis for proving one of the
elements of actionable negligence.)
m. Get a Second Opinion When Needed. This is especially important for the
that are subject to a variable interpretation.
n. Supervise Residents Properly. (This, of course, refers to physicians.)
o. Supervise X-ray Technologists. X-ray technologists should be encouraged
to take on responsibility but discouraged from performing the radiologist's duties. (Refer
back to para 4-20 for an example.)
p. Guidelines Encouraged. Encourage medical societies to establish
guidelines for performance and interpretation of various examinations. Guidelines that
are specific rather than general can be of great value in determining the standard of
care. And, in negligence cases, identifying the standard of care is a critical prerequisite
to determining whether or not a deviation from the standard has occurred.