Research shows that today in the U.S., about 70% of all medical decisions made by doctors are based on the results of clinical lab tests, such as biopsies and urine tests. When a lab technician or other lab worker makes an error while preparing, performing, or analyzing a diagnostic test, the patient’s physician receives inaccurate information, and ultimately, the patient is placed at high risk of suffering serious harm. He or she could be given dangerous medications, undergo unnecessary surgical procedures, lose the ability to get early treatment, or face other potentially deadly consequences.
If Annapath Pathology Services made an error on your lab test which caused you to receive a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering, medical bills, lost earnings, and other costs and hardships related to the medical error. The dedicated diagnostic error attorneys of Whitney, LLP are prepared to fight hard on you and your family’s behalf, and have successfully handled a wide range of clinical laboratory malpractice claims throughout the state of Maryland. To learn more about the compensation you and your family could be entitled to in a free, completely confidential legal consultation, call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 today.
Diagnostic Tests Provided by Annapath Pathology Services
Located on Tesla Drive in Bowie, MD, Annapath Pathology Services performs diagnostic tests on GU (gastric ulcer) and GI (gastrointestinal) biopsies, including fine-needle aspiration biopsies, or FNAB. These types of biopsies are commonly used in the diagnosis of medical conditions such as:
- Celiac disease
- Gastric cancer (stomach cancer)
- Gastrointestinal tumors
Annapath also provides women with gynecological biopsies and other testing services, including the Cytyc-ThinPrep™ pap test, which is commonly used for cervical cancer diagnosis throughout the United States. Additionally, Annapath is equipped to process fluid and tissue samples, including urine samples and sputum, a mixture of mucous and saliva produced by the lungs. Sputum cytology, in which a sample of sputum is examined on a slide beneath a microscope, is frequently used to diagnose:
- Lung cancer
- Upper respiratory tract cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
- Oral cancer (mouth cancer)
- Throat cancer (head and neck cancer)
Common Errors and Mistakes in Medical Laboratories
In 2013, medical errors became the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer, claiming 440,000 lives. While the percentage of deaths caused specifically by mistakes on lab tests is unknown, the tremendously high number of medical decisionsbased on lab tests means that patients face a relatively high risk of diagnostic error whenever a biopsy, urine test, or other medical test is ordered by a physician.
Many of these errors – up to 70%, according to some researchers – take place during what’s called the “pre-analytical phase” of testing. During this initial phase, samples and specimens are transported, stored, and prepared for testing, and patient information is collected. The next phase of the process, called the “analytical phase,” describes the period when samples are actually screened and tested. During the final phase, which is called the “post-analytical phase,” lab workers review the test results, which should be shared with the ordering physician in a timely manner.
Some common types of mistakes that take place in clinical settings include:
- Getting patients’ samples mixed up.
- Losing samples or patient information before or after testing.
- Shipping or storing samples in the wrong type of environment.
- Letting samples become tainted or contaminated.
- Letting samples expire, or failing to test in a timely manner.
- Failing to disclose test results to the ordering physician in a timely manner.
- Placing samples inside the wrong type of container, or inside the wrong patient’s container.
- Performing a test incorrectly.
- Misinterpreting the results of a test.
- Failing to communicate with the ordering physician whenever necessary for further clarification, patient information, etc.
These and other types of laboratory errors can lead to a catastrophic medical outcome for the patient. For instance, if the patient receives a false positive based on an inaccurate or compromised test – such as being diagnosed with cancer when he or she is actually healthy – the patient might end up going through painful, costly, and unnecessary surgery to remove a portion of a limb or organ. When a patientis ill and a diagnosis is delayed, or the presence of disease goes undetected altogether, the patient’s prognosis can be significantly worsened as he or she loses critical opportunities for early intervention against the progression of the illness.
If you or one of your loved ones suffered harm because of a missed diagnosis or incorrect diagnosis from Annapath or other medical laboratories in Maryland, you may have been the victim of malpractice. To start exploring the legal options that may be available to you and your family in a free, private legal consultation, call the attorneys of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000. Our line is always open to receive your call, including nights and weekends.