Constant Care Medical Lab, which is located at 1501 Division St. in Baltimore, MD 21217, provides a variety of lab tests with a staff of internists and pediatricians. If you or your child was injured by a lab test mistake, such as a delayed diagnosis, missed diagnosis, false positive reading, or false negative reading, you may be able to recover compensation to help with your medical expenses, income you lost by being out of work, and other costs related to your injury or illness.
The clinical malpractice attorneys of Whitney, LLP have years of experience representing victims of lab test errors in Maryland. We are available around the clock to answer all of your legal questions and help you fight for the accountability, justice, and compensation you deserve. To set up a free and confidential legal consultation, call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 right away.
Did Constant Care Medical Lab Make a Mistake on Your Lab Tests?
The frightening reality is that thousands of patients are harmed or killed by medical test errors every year. While careless mistakes can occur during any stage of the process, the majority of errors – as many as 70%, according to one recent medical study – take place during what’s called the “pre-analytical phase” of lab testing, which involves the labeling, organization, transportation, and storage of samples. Researchers reported that some of the most common errors during this part of the lab-work process included:
- Putting the wrong amount of anti-coagulant into a blood sample, causing it to clot.
- Sending samples that were missing information.
- Sending samples that were too small to be of use.
- Shipping samples in inappropriate containers and/or environmental conditions (e.g. extreme temperatures, excess humidity).
The next stage, which is called the “analytical phase,” is when the actual testing and screening of samples and specimens occurs. During the analytical phase, lab technicians might make errors such as:
- Failing to sterilize used or contaminated equipment.
- Forgetting to calibrate or reset a machine or medical device.
- Testing for the wrong disease.
- Using an outdated test with poor accuracy rates when superior alternatives exist.
The third and final stage, which is known as the “post-analytical phase,” involves the analysis of test results. At this stage, the medical lab should contact the doctor who ordered the test to inform them of the findings – but unfortunately, that doesn’t always occur. Sometimes, lab workers forget to follow up with patients or doctors, or mix up two patients’ samples, which leads to doctors and patients receiving incorrect information.
Any and all of these errors have the potential to wreak physical, emotional, and financial devastation, not only upon the patient him- or herself, but also upon the spouses and family members who have to watch their loved one suffer unnecessarily. Laboratory errors can result in catastrophic consequences for patients and their families, with some common outcomes including:
- False positive readings, where a patient is diagnosed with a disease he or she does not actually have.
- False negative readings, where a disease goes undetected and the patient is incorrectly told that he or she is healthy.
- Misdiagnoses, where a patient is diagnosed with the wrong condition.
Delayed diagnoses or missed diagnoses, where the correct diagnosis goes undiscovered for weeks, months, or even years. Sadly, by the time the patient finally receives the correct diagnosis, the condition has often advanced to a point where it is either incurable or requires extremely aggressive treatment. A missed cancer diagnosis, for example, can deprive a patient of years of life.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Diseases and Disorders
Some diseases have unique, telltale symptoms. Many, however, present a broad range of symptoms which vary from patient to patient, which makes timely and accurate diagnosis more difficult. Listed below are just a few of the many examples of disorders and diseases which are frequently mistaken for other conditions.
- Breast Cancer
- Symptoms – Breast pain, discoloration of breast tissue, edema, nipple discharge, masses or lumps
- Tests – Mammogram, breast ultrasound, breast biopsy
- Misdiagnoses – Mastitis (infection of breast tissue), fibrocystic breast disease
- Celiac Disease
- Symptoms – Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, fatigue, joint pain
- Tests – Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (tTG-IgA test), IgA Endomysial
- Antibody (EMA test), Total serum IgA, genetic testing for HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genes
- Misdiagnoses – Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Lung Cancer
- Symptoms – Coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, recurring respiratory infections, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes
- Tests – Chest x-rays, sputum cytology, lung biopsy, Positron Emission
- Tomography (PET)
- Misdiagnoses – Pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, bronchitis, Chronic
- Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus/SLE)
- Symptoms – Heart damage, kidney damage, joint pain, skin rashes, chronic fatigue
- Tests – Complete blood count, urinalysis, Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR test), Antinuclear Antibody (ANA test), chest x-rays, echocardiograms
- Misdiagnoses – Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia
- Lyme Disease (Borreliosis)
- Symptoms – Fatigue, difficulty breathing, stiffness, joint pain, flu-like symptoms
- Tests – Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) tests, to be confirmed by a Western Blot test
- Misdiagnoses – Mono, depression, influenza, fibromyalgia
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Symptoms – Double vision, muscle weakness, muscle tremor, eye pain, vertigo
- Tests – Multiple blood tests to rule out other conditions, spinal tap (lumbar puncture), MRIs
- Misdiagnoses – Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, bipolar disorder
If you or your son or daughter received an incorrect diagnosis because of lab testing errors at Constant Care Medical Lab, call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 to set up a free and private consultation. We will give you a clear and straightforward assessment of your family’s legal options.