Ethical dilemmas in radiology: Survey of opinions and experiences

Aline Camargo, Kelly Yousem, Theodore Westling, Marco Carone, David M. Yousem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. The aim of this study was to assess trainees' and practicing radiologists' perceptions and experiences in handling ethical situations. We sought to identify frequently encountered ethical dilemmas and how they are addressed in daily practice. Materials and Methods. A questionnaire on ethics was sent by email invitation to 1569 radiologists and radiology trainees in an institutional database maintained for continuing medical education purposes on three separate occasions between September 17, 2016, and October 31, 2016. The link to the survey was also posted on social media sites via the authors' and institutional accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Aunt Minnie as well as on American College of Radiology and Radiological Society of North America web blogs. Results. A total of 424 radiologists and trainees responded to the survey, for a response rate of 27% (424/1569). Of them, 363 responded to a question asking whether they had witnessed an ethical dilemma; 203 (56%) had. The wording of reports when a miss was discovered was not handled in a consistent fashion. Regarding disclosure, trainees were more likely than practicing radiologists to report theirs and others' errors to the patient. Of the 362 respondents who responded to a question about whether they would report a negligent act by a colleague to the group director, 292 (81%) stated that they would, but trainees were less likely than practicing radiologists to do so. Conclusion. This study found many common ethical dilemmas in radiology practices remain without an appropriate, objective, and unified approach to effectively guide the radiologist's actions. These results highlight a need to provide more uniform recommendations to assist radiologists in addressing ethical issues in an appropriate manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1283
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2019


  • Dilemmas
  • Education
  • Ethics
  • Radiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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