Radiology Research and Practice / 2013 / Article / Tab 1

Review Article

Malpractice in Radiology: What Should You Worry About?

Table 1

Useful medical-legal terms and concepts.


Abandonment [49]Legally indicates both the intention to abandon and the external act by which the intention is carried into effect.
In medicine means termination of a physician-patient relationship without reasonable and without an opportunity for the patient to acquire adequate medical care, resulting in some type of damage to the patient.

Answer [49]A legal document with a defendant’s written response to a complaint or declaration in legal proceedings.

Affidavit [49]Voluntary, written statement of facts made under oath before an officer of the court or before a notary public.

Battery [49]In medical malpractice it is a contact of some type with a patient who has not consented to the contact. Battery may be considered either a civil or a criminal offense.

Complaint [49]A legal document that is the initial pleading by the plaintiff in a civil action.

Common law [49]The body of law passed down to the American colonies by the British legal system and has been interpreted and refined by case law.

Duty [49] An obligation recognized by the law. A physician’s duty to a patient is to provide the degree of care ordinarily exercised by physicians practicing in the same community or area of specialization.

Expert witness [29]Is a witness who has expertise and specialised knowledge in a particular subject; it is sufficient that others may officially and legally rely upon the witness's specialized opinion about an evidence or fact occurred.

Hedging [44]Is an ambiguous statement which may lead to write a vague report.

Insurance brokerBrokers and agents are the retailers of the insurance. They assist insureds in developing risk management strategies appropriate for their risk profile.

Licensing [44]A state specialty board grants a license to an individual physician, which gives that physician the right to practice in his or her specialty field.

Patient autonomy [38]A doctor should find out what patients want to know and ought to know and respect the patient’s decision.

Professional competency [50]Habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values, and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual and community being served.

Prudent doctor [38]The doctor weighs the risk of a certain complication occurring against the risk resulting from putting a patient off necessary treatment.

Prudent patient [38] Concept recently developed in the USA that focuses on what the average “prudent patient” would want to know about potential risks and treatment options.

Res ipsa loquitur [49]“The thing speaks for itself.” A case in which the personal injuries or property damage would not have occurred without negligence. This theory allows a patient to prove his or her case without the need of an expert witness to testify that the defendant violated the standard of care.

Timely [49]Promptly; within a reasonable period of time, with “reasonable” being judged in terms of the particular circumstances of a case.

Tort law [49]A body of rights, obligations, and remedies that is applied by courts in civil proceedings to provide relief for persons who have suffered harm from the wrongful acts of others.