You count on your doctor for the right treatment plan, but your doctor counts on medical laboratories for the right diagnostic information. When a laboratory makes a mistake on a lab test, or misinterprets a medical image like a CAT scan, the patient’s doctor receives the wrong information, and the patient receives the wrong type of care. Sadly, this often results in serious harm or even wrongful death.
If you or one of your loved ones was a victim of laboratory negligence, you have a right to get answers, accountability, and justice. You may be entitled to compensation, which can help pay your medical bills, replace earnings you lost while you were out of work, and keep you and your family more comfortable as you go through this difficult time together.
The diagnostic error attorneys of Whitney, LLP have an established track record of success in handling highly complex laboratory malpractice claims throughout Maryland. We understand how devastating it is when a loved one is harmed or killed by a careless medical error, which is why we will be there to provide you and your family with compassionate, dedicated legal support through every step of your claim. Whenever you’re ready to start talking about what happened, we’ll be here to listen. For a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call our law offices at (410) 583-8000, any time of day or evening.
Medical Imaging and Testing Provided by MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Lab
Located at 25500 Point Lookout Road in Leonardtown, MD, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital provides a wide range of diagnostic screenings and lab tests to patients. Services provided include:
- Genetic testing for hereditary cancer risk
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer (colon cancer)
- Gastric cancer (stomach cancer)
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Renal cancer (kidney cancer)
- Thyroid cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Genetic testing for birth defects
- Biophysical profiles
- Fetal ultrasound
- MSS (Maternal Serum Screening)
- Radiology (diagnostic imaging)
- CT scan/CAT scan
If MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital missed your cancer diagnosis, failed to detect a health problem on your CAT scans or MRI scans, or made any other mistakes on your medical tests, you deserve a thorough investigation of how and why the error occurred. The laboratory malpractice attorneys of Whitney, LLP take an aggressive legal approach to each case we handle, and will leave no scrap of evidence unexamined as we pursue the truth.
Common Examples of Clinical Laboratory Negligence
The process of lab testing is divided into three distinct stages: the “pre-analytical phase,” in which samples are prepared, transported, and stored; the “analytical phase,” in which samples are actually tested; and the “post-analytical phase,” in which lab technicians and other lab workers review and disclose test results.
While all three of these phases carry the potential for devastating errors, researchers have found that the majority of lab mistakes – as many as 70% – take place during the pre-analytical phase, before a single drop of blood or piece of tissue is ever screened. Some examples include:
- Storing samples in inappropriate conditions.
- Mislabeling samples.
- Failing to insert a specimen into the right container.
- Keeping samples inside damaged or inappropriate containers.
- Allowing blood samples to clot.
- Allowing samples to comingle or become tainted.
While the risk of error diminishes after the pre-analytical phase, mistakes during the analytical or post-analytical phases are still fairly common. These errors often include:
- Failing to interpret test results correctly.
- Testing the wrong patient’s sample.
- Failing to conduct a test within the appropriate window of time.
- Mixing up two patients’ test results.
Were You a Victim of a Diagnostic Error or Missed Diagnosis?
Regardless of which type of mistake a laboratory employee makes, the outcome is almost always the same: severe and lasting harm to the patient. The patient’s loved ones also suffer terrible emotional distress and financial hardship, particularly in cases where the patient is responsible for providing support to their children or other dependents.
There are several types of harmful outcomes which can result from a lab test error:
- The patient receives a false positive. A false positive is a test result that says the patient is sick when they are actually healthy. This type of error often leads to a patient being prescribed inappropriate medications, or being recommended for surgeries, amputations, or other medical procedures which are completely unnecessary.
- The patient receives a false negative. A false negative is a test result that says the patient is healthy when they are actually sick. When this type of error occurs, the patient has no way of knowing they need urgent care before the disease advances any further.
- The patient receives a misdiagnosis. Some examples of serious medical conditions which are frequently misdiagnosed as other diseases and disorders include breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, Celiac disease, Lyme disease, thyroid disorders (e.g. hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism), lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
- The patient receives a delayed diagnosis. With each day a diagnosis is delayed, the patient loses more and more chances to fight the illness with treatment, while their prognosis gets worse and worse. Even if the patient’s condition isn’t deadly, diagnostic delays still mean that by the time treatment finally is received, it often must be of an aggressive and invasive nature in order to be effective.
If you or one of your loved ones was harmed by a hospital laboratory error in Maryland, the attorneys of Whitney, LLP may be able to help. To set up a free, confidential case evaluation, call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 today.