Anne Arundel Medical Center has Maryland locations in Annapolis, Bowie, Chester, Odenton, Pasadena, and Gambrills. Its facilities are equipped to perform “a full range of diagnostic testing for inpatients and outpatients ranging from newborns to seniors,” including:
- Chemistry screens
- Blood transfusions and blood donations
- Diagnostic imaging
- Cardiac CT scans
- Digital mammography (breast imaging)
- MRI scans
- Osteoporosis DEXA screenings (bone scans)
- Hematology tests
- Microbiology tests
- Surgical pathology and cytopathology
- Bone marrow biopsies
- Fine-needle aspiration biopsies (FNAB)
If Anne Arundel Medical Center made a mistake on your lab tests and you suffered harm as a result, you should talk to the experienced diagnostic error attorneys of Whitney, LLP about the legal options that may be available to you and your family. Medical laboratories are expected to meet certain professional standards of care, and when a lab technician performs their duties negligently, the victim may be entitled to compensation for their medical costs, losses in income, and other hardships caused by the error. To set up a free and private legal consultation, call the law offices of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000.
Delayed Diagnoses, Misdiagnoses, and False Readings on Medical Tests
When a lab technician makes a mistake while preparing, conducting, or analyzing a medical test, he or she passes inaccurate data on to the ordering physician. As a result, the ordering physician ends up making treatment decisions which are based on erroneous information. This is likely to lead to emotional, financial, and physical devastation for the patient in his or her care. Depending on the nature of the error, the patient could receive a:
- False Positive – A reading that says the patient is sick, even though they are actually in good health. This can lead to unnecessary surgeries, medications, and even amputations, as well as extreme emotional distress and burdensome medical bills.
- False Negative – A reading that says the patient is healthy, even though they are actually sick. Because the patient incorrectly believes that they are in good health, they have no way of knowing it is necessary to seek medical treatment. By the time the patient discovers that the negative test reading was inaccurate, it may be too late to treat the disease effectively.
- Delayed Diagnosis – A diagnosis which is made later than it reasonably should have been, taking into consideration all relevant circumstances. A delay of years, months, or even weeks could inflict irreversible harm by shortening a patient’s estimated lifespan. Even if the condition is non-fatal, there can still be serious medical repercussions for the patient, who may need to undergo costlier, riskier, more aggressive treatment than would have been necessary with a timely diagnosis.
- Misdiagnosis – An incorrect diagnosis, sometimes of a completely unrelated condition. Misdiagnoses can occur because lab workers lack sufficient experience, because the test performed has a poor accuracy rate, because the condition’s symptoms mimic those of other conditions, or a combination of all three factors. Unfortunately, some of the most difficult-to-diagnose diseases are also some of the most life-threatening, including lung cancer, colon cancer (colorectal cancer), and breast cancer. Some lab tests, such as the TSH test for thyroid disorders, or blood testing for Lyme disease, are notorious for producing unreliable results.
Were You a Victim of These Common Lab Test Errors?
In 2013, medical errors became the third leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 440,000 lives. By comparison, cancer causes about 585,000 deaths each year, while cardiovascular disease causes roughly 611,000. While the exact number of deaths attributable to laboratory errors is unknown, what is certain is that the vast majority of medical care decisions made in the U.S. – as many as 70%, according to current data – are based on lab test findings.
Unfortunately, like all complex medical tasks, lab testing procedures are rife with opportunities for errors to be made. While mistakes can occur at any time during the process, the “pre-analytical phase,” or pre-testing stage, carries the highest risk. Errors during the pre-analytical phase commonly involve:
- Storing or shipping samples in the wrong types of containers, which can leak, spill, or allow contamination by other samples.
- Storing or shipping samples in the wrong types of conditions, such as extreme heat or humidity, which can compromise sample viability.
- Losing or failing to obtain important data about the patient and/or sample itself.
- Losing samples or requests for medical tests.
While not as common, it is also possible for mistakes to occur during the subsequent “analytical” (testing) and “post-analytical” (post-testing) phases. These types of errors frequently involve problems such as:
- Failing to communicate with the patient’s physician as necessary.
- Failing to properly sterilize or otherwise prepare lab equipment for a test.
- Calling the wrong physician or patient about the results of a test.
- Using an outdated or unreliable test when a more accurate method is available.
- Getting samples mixed up with each other.
If you or one of your loved ones was the victim of laboratory negligence in Maryland, the attorneys of Whitney, LLP are prepared to help you fight for the maximum compensation to which you may be entitled. Please don’t hesitate to call our law offices at (410) 583-8000, including evenings and weekends, to get a free assessment of your case. Whenever you’re ready to talk about your medical experience, we’ll be here to provide you with compassionate legal support.