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Why the Expertise of a B-Reader Is Essential in Diagnosing Diseases Caused by Asbestos Exposure

Posted on 6th July, 2021

by Legal Staff

As a medical professional certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a B-reader has the necessary expertise in classifying radiographs of pneumoconiosis.

Pneumoconiosis is the umbrella term for interstitial lung diseases caused by the inhalation of dust or toxic agents such as asbestos, which usually occurs in the workplace.

As is the case of diseases caused by breathing in asbestos fibers, these serious pulmonary issues take multiple years to multiple decades to develop. Since B-readers exhibit proficiency in classifying X-rays of pneumoconiosis, they are the ideal medical specialists whom you should see if you were exposed to asbestos.

The B-reader program, which was named because of the black lung disease that was affecting numerous coal miners at that time, was founded in 1974. While in the past, the work of B-readers would concern only the lung diseases coal miners were struggling with, today, their job involves epidemiological evaluation, surveillance, and worker monitoring programs that pertain to multiple types of pneumoconioses.

In 1978, the B-reader certification examination system began operating, and, nowadays, the examination entails a timed classification of 125 radiographs. To become a B-reader, one must undergo the examination provided by the Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Safety and Health, which is located in Morgantown, West Virginia.

It is worthy of note that there are few certified B-readers throughout the country. In 2017, there were only 181, whereas now, there are 300, which is still a small number. Therefore, the certification of B-reader is quite rare.

The Importance of a B-Reader's Opinion for Asbestos Exposure Victims

A chest X-ray is typically the first diagnostic test a victim of asbestos exposure has to undergo in order to have their lungs examined for the presence of asbestos fibers. However, because lung diseases caused by asbestos exposure are extremely complex and challenging to correctly diagnose, the expertise of a medical professional with vast experience in interpreting the chest X-rays of people affected by occupational toxic agents is necessary. This medical professional must be a B-reader, as, if you intend to seek compensation for a pulmonary disease stemming from asbestos exposure, your chest X-rays must have been examined by a B-reader and not by any other medical professional. This is also the requirement of asbestos trust funds.

There are 12 degrees of asbestos lung disease, depending on how much asbestos dust you have in your lungs, and only a B-reader can precisely assign you a degree. The radiologists in regular hospitals and medical centers cannot carry out a thorough interpretation of your chest X-ray if your lungs were affected by asbestos exposure, as they do not have the required expertise.

Once you have a positive B-read of your asbestos report, you will subsequently have to be examined by a qualified medical professional who focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases caused by asbestos exposure, such as an occupational medicine doctor. The doctor who assesses your lungs cannot be a primary care doctor or any other type than a qualified medical professional.

A B-reader evaluates a chest X-ray to determine whether the asbestos dust you inhaled has caused any damage to your lungs, such as tissue scarring or nodules. In contrast to that of a regular radiologist, their assessment of your lungs is performed by using a stringent protocol and carried out in a step-by-step manner that allows them to record any change or abnormality in your lungs caused by asbestos dust. Some B-readers are currently involved in the Asbestos Medical Surveillance Program. Unfortunately, despite the increasing demand for B-readers' expertise, they remain a minority among medical professionals.

In conclusion, only a B-reader can assign you a correct diagnosis if you have a history of asbestos exposure and experience bothersome symptoms. This is extremely beneficial for you, as you will receive the most effective treatment after the examination, but it is also a requirement, as this is the only way you can obtain the necessary medical documents to file a claim for asbestos exposure.

If your health was compromised by asbestos exposure, we highly advise you to contact our expert team, who will carefully evaluate your employment or military records and your medical records to determine if you qualify for compensation. Our assistance will make the process of seeking financial compensation easier for you, as we are aware that most victims of asbestos exposure are in a lot of physical and emotional pain.

File Your Asbestos Claim with Our Assistance

With more than 35 years of professional experience in assessing personal injury and product liability claims, we are here to offer you superior assistance. After you send us your employment or military records, as well as your medical records, we will thoroughly evaluate your case to eventually let you know if you are eligible for compensation.

If you are, we will quickly guide you to a lawyer who specializes in toxic exposure so that you can obtain the largest sum of money you are entitled to for your injury. With their vast database and experience, they will efficiently help you recover the money you deserve.

Nonetheless, you should know that the statute of limitations for asbestos claims is 3 years from the day of diagnosis in most states, which should prompt you to contact Atraxia Law as soon as you receive your diagnosis. Otherwise, if the statute of limitations is exceeded, you will no longer be eligible for compensation. Lastly, you should also know that working with a specialized lawyer is free of charge unless they recover financial compensation for you, as they work on a contingency fee basis.