DOI: 10.1177/08465371231193366 ISSN: 0846-5371

Medico-Legal Cases in Breast Imaging in Canada: A Trend Analysis

Jean M. Seely, Laura Payant, Cathy Zhang, Rana Aslanova, Sharon Chothia, Anna MacIntyre, Isabelle Trop, Qian Yang, Gary Garber, Michael Patlas
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • General Medicine

Purpose: Breast imaging accounts for a large proportion of medico-legal cases involving radiologists in several countries and may be a disincentive to breast imaging. As this has not been well studied in Canada, we evaluated the key medico-legal issues of breast imaging in Canada and their implications for health care providers and patient safety. Methods: In collaboration with Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), we obtained information from the medico-legal repository, including civil-legal, medical regulatory authority (College) and hospital complaints occurring between 2002-2021. Canadian Classification of Health Interventions (CCI) codes were used for breast imaging and biopsy. Trend analysis was done comparing cases involving breast imaging/biopsy to all cases where a radiologist was named. Results: Radiologists were named in 3108 medico-legal cases, 188 (6%, 188/3108) of which were CCI coded for breast imaging or biopsy. Factors related to radiologists were most frequent (64%, 120/188), followed by team (23.4%, 44/188) and system (6.9%, 13/188). Equal representation of male and female radiologists was found (IRR = 1.22; 95% CI: .89, 1.56). In a 10-year test window from 2006 - 2015 we identified an increasing trend for all cases involving radiologists ( P = 0,0128) but a decreasing trend for cases coded with breast imaging or biopsy ( P = 0,0099). Conclusions: A significant decrease in cases involving breast imaging were found from 2006-2015, accounting for 6% of the medico-legal cases. The lower risk of breast imaging medico-legal issues may encourage more radiologists in breast imaging.

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