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AI-Based Guidance Throws a New Wrench into Medical Malpractice


Today, it is common practice to find “big data” and “artificial intelligence” driving vehicles, winning political elections, and pervading just about all information science now and into the future. Doctors, especially radiologists, who rely on AI to make decisions for patients may be safer from medical malpractice liability than those who don’t. This is according to a new study released in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

What will this mean for patients who believe they’ve been the victim of medical malpractice?

The Study 

The study canvassed a representatively accurate sample of 2,000 U.S. adults to analyze cases where doctors used AI to make decisions. The data related to whether or not the AI recommended standard or nonstandard care, and whether the physician chose to accept or reject that recommendation. In this sample, all of the physician’s decisions resulted in harm.

In these situations, participants heavily based their opinions on whether the doctor was liable based on whether or not the accepted or rejected AI-based recommendations.

Medical Negligence 

In tort law, medical negligence is different from standard negligence. Medical negligence requires a finding that the doctor somehow failed to meet the standard of care in the treating of the patient. The results of the survey suggest that jurors would be more inclined to punish doctors who deviated from AI recommendations than doctors who followed those recommendations and produced poor results. In that manner, AI recommendations may create a legal barrier for patients who are attempting to sue doctors for medical negligence.

Radiology Lawsuits 

Radiology lawsuits are typically related to diagnostic errors that either prevent or delay treatment. Radiologists are often required to read and interpret medical scans to determine the presence of any abnormalities. Radiologists were ranked 6th among medical professionals for subspecialties most likely to be sued.

Other Problems 

In medical malpractice lawsuits, the standard modes of treatment for a specialty play a vital role in determining whether or not a medical negligence lawsuit is actionable. In most cases, doctors rely on their own insights to make diagnoses and recommendations. The danger here is that doctors who follow AI-based recommendations could potential evade responsibility since they would always have the same defense: I did what the AI recommended.

Talk to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in St. Petersburg 

If you’ve been injured by the negligent practice of medicine, call the St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorney at Masterson & Hoag, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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