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X-rayWhile I greatly respect your medical malpractice defense columnist John L.A. Lyddane, I am compelled to contest a significant part of his May 15th column, “Duty as a Question of Law in Medical Malpractice Defense,” specifically insofar as he represents that a radiologist’s duty of care ends when he/she writes an accurate report. The duty does not “extend … beyond the obligation … [to] correctly interpret and document the findings” on a given radiological study, he says. That simply does not accurately reflect modern standards of care, even as published in the guidelines of the American College of Radiology (ACR).

To support his contention, he cites, inter alia, a more than 30-year-old decision by the Court of Appeals in Alvarez v. Prospect Hospital, 68 N.Y.2d 320 (1986). There, a radiologist correctly interpreted a barium enema as showing a neoplasm (cancer) and sent his written report to the referring physician who had ordered the test. The radiologist did not, however, take any other steps to communicate with that physician or to in any way alert the patient to that ominous finding.

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