Bethesda Dermatopathology Laboratory Testing and Diagnostic Error Attorney

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When a doctor cannot make a diagnosis, he or she will call a medical lab for assistance, such as Bethesda Dermatopathology Laboratory in Silver Spring, MD.  In fact, this is the way most diagnoses and treatment plans are made, with research showing that up to 70% of care decisions made by U.S. doctors are impacted by lab test results.  Because doctors rely so heavily on labs for diagnostic assistance, a lab test mistake can have catastrophic consequences for the patient, including misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, false positive readings, and false negative readings.

If you or one of your loved ones received a delayed or incorrect diagnosis because Bethesda Dermatopathology Laboratory made an error on your lab tests, you may have been the victim of laboratory negligence.  The attorneys of Whitney, LLP have years of experience handling complex laboratory malpractice claims in Maryland, and are prepared to take on even the most challenging of cases.  We will answer all of your questions and handle all of the legal work on your behalf, so that you can focus on simply being with your loved ones.  

If you have any questions at all about the process of filing a claim, we encourage you to call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 for a free, completely confidential consultation.  You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, hospital bills, losses in income, and other expenses related to the failure to diagnose your condition.

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Medical Conditions That Can Be Diagnosed by Dermatopathology Lab Tests

A pathologist is a doctor who studies how diseases start and develop in the human body.  Among other tasks, one of the pathologist’s key roles is to examine tissue samples in order to make medical diagnoses.  A dermatopathologist, where “derma-” refers to conditions affecting the skin, is a pathologist who specializes in studying and analyzing skin diseases.  Physicians often call upon dermatopathologists for help diagnosing conditions such as:

  • Dermatitis (inflammation)
  • Skin cancer and malignant tumors
    • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
    • Melanoma
    • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
  • Skin infections
    • Cellulitis
    • Impetigo
    • Ringworm
    • Scabies

Bethesda Dermatopathology Laboratory, which is located at 1730 Elton Road in Silver Spring, focuses its services on the testing and interpretation of tissue biopsies, or tissue samples used for diagnostic purposes.  The process involves specialists called histology technicians slicing extremely thin sections of tissue for placement on glass slides, which can then be examined beneath a microscope for abnormalities that would indicate cancer or other skin conditions.

Did a Lab Technician Miss Your Skin Cancer Diagnosis, or Misdiagnose Your Illness?

The American Cancer Society reports that skin cancer, which can manifest as BCC, SCC, or melanoma, is more common than any other type of cancer in the United States.  Millions of Americans are treated for skin cancer every year – more new cases than prostate, breast, colon, and lung cancer combined.  The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma (2.8 million diagnoses per year), followed by squamous cell carcinoma (700,000 diagnoses per year).

Despite the large numbers of skin cancer diagnoses made annually in the U.S., many other patients will receive the wrong diagnosis, or go undiagnosed altogether.  Skin cancer can mimic many other conditions, such as warts, psoriasis, or eczema, and if a lab technician is inexperienced or approaches a biopsy with preconceived ideas about which condition the patient is suffering from, he or she could miss the warning signs that a cancerous growth is developing.  

According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, melanoma has “one of the highest cure rates of all cancers”: about 90%.  However, early detection is essential to give the patient the best possible prognosis and chance of survival.  By the time melanoma advances to Stage 3 (spreading to lymph nodes) or Stage 4 (spreading to other parts of the body), effective treatment becomes much more difficult, requiring invasive surgeries to remove any tissue the cancer has spread to.  When a medical laboratory error causes a patient to receive a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, the patient misses critical and potentially life-saving opportunities to get early treatment.  

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In some cases, the opposite scenario occurs: the patient actually is healthy, but is told he or she has skin cancer or another serious medical condition.  When a lab test returns abnormal findings in a healthy person, the erroneous result is called a false positive.  When a patient receives a false positive test result on a skin cancer screening, he or she might be given medication with harsh, harmful side effects, or even be made to undergo a completely unnecessary surgery, leaving him or her both physically disabled and burdened with crushing medical debt.  

If Bethesda Dermatopathology Laboratory missed your skin cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosed your skin condition, you may be able to recover compensation, which can help create a stable financial future for your loved ones.  Call the diagnostic error attorneys of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 to learn more about your legal options in a free and private legal consultation.  Whenever you are ready to talk about your experience, we will be here to listen and provide you with compassionate legal support.