University of Oulu

Tarkiainen, T., Turpeinen, M., Haapea, M. et al. Investigating errors in medical imaging: medical malpractice cases in Finland. Insights Imaging 12, 86 (2021).

Investigating errors in medical imaging : medical malpractice cases in Finland

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Author: Tarkiainen, Tarja1; Turpeinen, Miia2; Haapea, Marianne3;
Organizations: 1Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
2Administrative Centre, Research Unit of Biomedicine, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-08-19


Objective: The objectives of the study were to survey patient injury claims concerning medical imaging in Finland in 1991–2017, and to investigate the nature of the incidents, the number of claims, the reasons for the claims, and the decisions made concerning the claims.

Materials and methods: The research material consisted of patient claims concerning imaging, sent to the Finnish Patient Insurance Centre (PVK). The data contained information on injury dates, the examination code, the decision code, the description of the injury, and the medical grounds for decisions.

Results: The number of claims included in the study was 1054, and the average number per year was 87. The most common cause was delayed diagnosis (404 claims, 38.3%). Most of the claims concerned mammography (314, 29.8%), radiography (170, 16.1%), and MRI (162, 15.4%). According to the decisions made by the PVK, there were no delays in 54.6% of the examinations for which claims were made. About 30% of all patient claims received compensation, the most typical reason being medical malpractice (27.7%), followed by excessive injuries and injuries caused by infections, accidents and equipment (2.7%).

Conclusion: Patient injury in imaging examinations and interventions cannot be completely prevented. However, injury data are an important source of information for health care. By analysing claims, we can prevent harm, increase the quality of care, and improve patient safety in medical imaging.

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Series: Insights into imaging
ISSN: 1869-4101
ISSN-E: 1869-4101
ISSN-L: 1869-4101
Volume: 12
Article number: 86
DOI: 10.1186/s13244-021-01011-8
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit