Diagnostic Radiology: A Failure to Diagnose (Claims Corner CME)


In reviewing closed malpractice claims, The Doctors Company identified delayed diagnosis of a malignancy as a reoccurring problem. The following highlights the importance of recognizing a spinal abnormality and recommending further follow up of a lesion seen on imaging. Contributing factors include misinterpretation of radiologic studies, narrow diagnostic focus, lack of communication and failure to establish a differential diagnosis.

Course ID #: TDE 200818.0 Issue Date: 12/29/2020 Expiration Date: 12/29/2023


After completing this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Critique the challenges that often cause a delayed diagnosis of a spinal malignancy and results in a severe injury for a patient.

  • Revise ways to review, compare & contrast less commonly seen characteristics of radiologic findings regarding spinal lesions.

  • Prioritize the importance of communicating and documenting incidental findings to the emergency physician or other providers.

  • Implement at least two strategies that can reduce the risk for a malpractice claim involving the failure to timely diagnose and treat a spinal malignancy.


No individual in a position to control or influence the content of this activity has reported relevant financial relationships with commercial interests. No commercial support was provided for this activity.


The information and guidelines contained in this activity are generalized and may not apply to all practice situations. We recommend that legal advice be obtained from a qualified attorney for specific application to your practice. The information is intended for educational purposes and should be used as a reference guide only.

Course Developers

Susan Shepard, MSN, MA, RN, CPHRM, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
Kathrine Soulsby, BSN, RN, Patient Safety Analyst, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
Johanna Lackner, MPH, MSW, Senior Director, Continuing Professional Development, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Continuing Education Credit

The Doctors Company is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical educational activities for physicians.

The Doctors Company designates this activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Complies with State Requirements

Please SEE the Federation of State Medical Boards overview of Continuing Medical Education requirements by State. 

Technical Requirements

The activity is best experienced using the most current browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Internet Explore is not supported by this platform. All activities featuring audio must have a speaker. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, JavaScript and session cookies must be enabled on your computer. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact educationsupport@thedoctors.com or call 800.421.2368, extension 1243.


Visit our Resource document for this program.