The vast majority of tests performed at LabCorp clinical laboratories return accurate results which are promptly disclosed to patients and their physicians. However, if a lab technician is ever careless or negligent at any stage of the testing process, even the tiniest of errors has the potential to result in serious medical complications, terrible psychological distress, and extensive financial hardship for patients. When clinical laboratories make testing errors or misdiagnose patients, they should be held accountable for the devastating consequences of their actions.
Clinical Malpractice Attorneys Representing Misdiagnosis Victims
If you or one of your loved ones was harmed by a LabCorp missed diagnosis or other lab test error, you should speak to a clinical malpractice attorney to learn more about your family’s legal options. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation, which can help with your medical bills and any income you may have lost while out of work recovering, including projected losses and expenses in the future.
To schedule a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call the experienced diagnostic error attorneys of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000. Don’t worry about having too many questions, or being unsure about the legal process: that’s precisely what our dedicated team is here to assist you with, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Which Types of Tests Does LabCorp Perform?
LabCorp, which refers to Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, is one of the largest clinical laboratory companies in the world. LabCorp maintains almost 40 primary laboratories at sites throughout the United States, with Maryland locations in Baltimore, Towson, Dundalk, Glen Burnie, Catonsville, Pikesville, Lutherville, Owings Mills, Ellicott City, Cockeysville, Hanover, Pasadena, and more.
LabCorp laboratories are equipped to perform thousands of different tests for hundreds of different conditions, with specialties including:
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Routine testing
LabCorp reports that some of its most common user queries are for:
- Allergy testing (food, chemicals)
- Arthritis testing
- Celiac Disease testing
- Diabetes testing
- Lyme disease testing
- Thalassemia testing
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) testing
What Are Some Common Lab Testing Mistakes?
The lab testing process is divided into three phases:
- The pre-analytical phase, which encompasses the shipment and organization of samples before they are tested by lab technicians.
- The analytical phase, during which testing is actually performed.
- The post-analytical phase, which is when lab technicians write up reports and analyses of their findings to send to doctors.
Studies have shown that most errors – as many as 70%, by some estimates – occur during the pre-analytical phase. These errors commonly include:
- Samples being shipped in broken or otherwise improper storage containers.
- Samples which are shipped or stored in improper conditions (e.g. excessive heat, excessive humidity).
- Samples which arrive at labs lacking necessary patient and/or sample information.
- Samples which arrive in unusable condition, often due to blood clotting.
While less statistically common, errors during the analytical and/or post-analytical phase are also a widespread issue in American clinical laboratories. Mistakes which can occur during the analytical or post-analytical phase include:
- Failure to correctly interpret the meaning of the test result.
- Failure to follow up with patients after testing is completed.
- Failure to notify doctors and/or patients of test results within a reasonable time frame.
- Failure to sterilize, calibrate, or use machines and lab equipment properly.
- Mixing up patient test results.
Depending on which type of mistake is made, there can be a few harmful outcomes for the patient whose sample was tested:
- Receiving a false positive, or being told you are sick when you are actually healthy.
- Receiving a false negative, or being told you are healthy when you are actually sick.
- Receiving a misdiagnosis of a completely unrelated condition, while the true condition goes undetected and continues to worsen.
Which Diseases Are Hardest to Diagnose Accurately?
While some medical conditions can be quickly and simply diagnosed with a basic test, others have developed reputations for the difficulties – and consequent inaccuracies – posed by clinical lab testing. Listed below are some common examples of diseases and conditions which tend to be misdiagnosed, result in false negatives, or result in false positives:
- Anemia (iron deficiency)
- Breast cancer
- Celiac disease
- Colorectal cancer/polyps
- Lung cancer
- Lyme disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Sickle cell trait/disease
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), e.g. hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism
- Tuberculosis (TB)
If you or one of your family members received a misdiagnosis, false positive, or false negative test result from a LabCorp facility in Maryland, it may be possible to recover compensation. To start exploring your family’s legal options in a free, confidential, and straightforward case evaluation, call the clinical malpractice lawyers of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000.