When you visit your doctor, there’s a fair chance he or she won’t be able to make an on-the-spot diagnosis with a visual exam. In many cases, doctors must take blood, oral swabs, urine samples, or tissue samples to send to a lab for analysis.
When the recipient laboratory makes a mistake, such as testing the wrong sample or improperly sterilizing equipment, the effects upon the patient can be devastating. The disturbing reality is that human error is responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries each year – and in many instances, these errors should have been completely avoidable.
If you or one of your loved ones was harmed by a lab testing error at Dorsey Hall Medical Laboratory in Maryland, you may be able to recover compensation for your pain, suffering, medical bills, lost income, and other losses and expenses. The attorneys of Whitney, LLP can help. We have years of experience handling Maryland clinical malpractice cases, and have obtained favorable results for numerous clients who were harmed by serious diagnostic errors. To schedule a free legal consultation with Whitney, LLP, call our law offices at (410) 583-8000. We will keep your information confidential while helping you explore your legal options for getting compensated.
Representing Victims of Dorsey Hall Medical Lab Test Errors
Dorsey Hall Medical Laboratory has two Maryland locations: one facility in Elkridge, and another in Ellicott City. Each employs a small staff of about seven people, and specializes in clinical pathology, the field of medicine dedicated to diagnosing diseases by testing blood, cells, tissue, and bodily fluids.
Dorsey Hall, like any medical laboratory in the United States, is vulnerable to human error at all stages of the lab-work process. The first stage of the process, which is called the “pre-analytical phase,” is when most medical lab errors occur: up to 70%, according to a recent medical study. These pre-analytical testing errors frequently involve:
- Failure to send samples in the right types of packaging.
- Sending samples with incomplete patient or sample information.
- Shipping and transportation errors, such as keeping samples at the wrong temperature during transit.
The actual testing of samples is called the “analytical phase.” During this phase, common errors include:
- Failing to prep or calibrate equipment properly.
- Failing to sterilize equipment properly.
- Testing the wrong sample.
- Using inappropriate or outdated tests.
- Using the wrong type of machine or equipment to perform a test.
The final stage of the process is called the “post-analytical phase.” Mistakes which can be made during this phase include:
- Failing to notify the doctor of the test results promptly.
- Notifying the doctor of incorrect results (e.g. a blood sample mix-up).
Medical Conditions That Are Frequently Misdiagnosed
While some medical conditions present highly specific and unusual symptoms which make diagnosis straightforward, most present very differently from patient to patient. Some patients also have “atypical symptoms,” or symptoms which deviate from the ways the condition usually manifests. Combined with shortcomings in modern lab testing methods – many of which have imperfect accuracy rates – these factors create an elevated risk of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. If you were recently tested for any of the following conditions, you may want to consider getting a second opinion, or undergoing additional screenings for confirmation of your initial results.
- Colorectal Cancer (Colon Cancer)
- Causes – Unknown
- Tests – Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, double-contrast barium enema
- Symptoms – Changes in stool, bloody stool, stomach pain
- Misdiagnoses – Hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus)
- Causes – Genetic factors leading to improper insulin production
- Tests – Glycated hemoglobin test (A1C test), blood sugar tests, oral glucose tolerance tests
- Symptoms – Fatigue, frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, blurred vision
- Misdiagnoses – Depression, anxiety, multiple sclerosis
- Lung cancer
- Causes – Carcinogens in tobacco smoke, asbestos exposure, inherited DNA mutations
- Tests – Sputum cytology, lung biopsy, chest x-rays, bronchoscopy
- Symptoms – Chest pain, persistent coughing, shortness of breath, phlegm production, headaches, voice changes
- Misdiagnoses – Asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia
- Lyme Disease (Borreliosis)
- Causes – Bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted through deer tick bites
- Tests – ELISA test, with positive results to be confirmed by a Western Blot test
- Symptoms – Fatigue, bullseye pattern rash around the bite, joint pain, facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy)
- Misdiagnoses – Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid disease
Other commonly misdiagnosed diseases and disorders include:
- Breast cancer
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Heart disease
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
If you or one of your family members received a misdiagnosis, or if lab testing failed to detect your illness, you should talk to a diagnostic error attorney about your family’s legal options. You may be entitled to significant compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial harm you have suffered. Call the law offices of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 to schedule your free consultation today.