Toronto lawyer Albert Conforzi: My 30 years in personal injury litigation has left me with both the highest regard for the medical profession in general, as well as the certain knowledge that healthcare practitioners are just human beings; no more and no less.
As such, they are as prone to making mistakes as anyone else. As with any mistakes, there are consequences. These may be trivial, minor, major or life-threatening. When an engineer makes a mistake while designing a building, a collapse can be devastating. When a doctor makes a mistake, it too can be deadly.
I came across an article from a while back in the Globe relating to errors in diagnostic imaging. To check for diagnostic accuracy in the future, the Ontario government plans to roll out a “physician peer review program” to review randomly selected images that have been previously read.
Diagnostic images include such things as X-ray, CT scans, MRI, ECG testing, and mammograms.
This move brings into focus that mistakes do happen. This is particularly important in matters relating to cancer, such as mammography. But mistakes are also seen in matters relating to personal injury, such as the failure to note injuries like disc herniation, or ligament tears. This results in patients being treated by insurers as “questionable claimants,” and insurance claimsbecoming a battle. In turn, treatment ends up either delayed or denied.
While a peer review plan will not result in a review of every diagnostic test, hopefully errors will be caught. This will lead to better people being put into the position of reading these critical diagnostic images.