If your doctor cannot make an immediate diagnosis, he or she will probably take a blood sample, urine sample, mouth swab, or other tissue sample to send to a lab for medical testing. While most lab tests are performed correctly, there is always a risk of careless human errors, such as mixing up samples or losing paperwork. When negligent lab technicians make mistakes, the result is often devastating harm to the patient, who may be misdiagnosed, delayed in getting the proper diagnosis, or subjected to unnecessary treatments.
If Park Medical Laboratories failed to diagnose your condition or made an error on your lab-work, you don’t have to deal with the consequences alone. The Maryland clinical malpractice attorneys of Whitney, LLP will be by your side to uphold your legal rights, guide you through the litigation process, and fight for maximum compensation for you and your family. We have years of experience representing the victims of medical errors throughout Maryland. Call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 to start exploring your legal options in a free, completely confidential consultation.
Were You Injured by These Common Types of Lab Testing Errors?
Park Medical Laboratories is located in Lutherville, MD. The lab, which is staffed by technologists working under the supervision of a clinical pathologist, is equipped to perform various stool and blood tests, including blood tests for cholesterol, electrolytes, glucose (blood sugar), and triglycerides.
No matter what types of tests its facilities perform, all medical laboratories have the potential to make serious errors which can cause irreversible patient harm or, in extreme cases, even wrongful death. Medical errors are frighteningly common in the United States, with many experts estimating annual death and injury rates in the hundreds of thousands.
In an effort to find solutions to this problem, researchers have extensively studied when and how lab errors occur, and have found that more than two thirds – as many as 70% – take place before a single test is ever conducted. By the time the test is ready to be performed, the sample has already been tainted or lost. These types of pre-testing errors, which are called “pre-analytical errors,” occur when samples and specimens are being labeled, organized, and transported to labs for testing. Some common examples include:
- Sending blood samples that clot en route.
- Sending samples that are missing important information.
- Sending samples that are too small.
- Shipping or storing samples in inappropriate containers, which can open, break, or become contaminated.
- Shipping or storing samples in inappropriate environments, such as extreme cold or heat.
The risk of an error being made during testing, while statistically lower, is still significant for patients. Common mistakes on lab tests include:
- Performing tests incorrectly.
- Performing tests on the wrong sample.
- Using outdated tests which have been replaced by better, more accurate methods.
Once the results of the test come in, lab technicians are expected to prepare and share detailed reports with the patient’s doctor. Unfortunately, this isn’t always what actually happens. Sometimes, lab technicians fail to follow up as promptly as they should, which can lead to patient receiving a significantly delayed diagnosis. Other post-testing or “post-analytical” errors include:
- Calling the wrong doctor or patient.
- Losing vital information.
- Misreading the results of a test.
Diseases and Disorders That Are Frequently Misdiagnosed
Anyone would expect outdated, obsolete tests to perform poorly. What’s more alarming is that many contemporary and widely-used medical tests also perform poorly, frequently producing inaccurate results, false positives (false indications of disease), and false negatives (false indications of health), which can lead to devastating misdiagnoses and/or delayed diagnoses. When the error relates to a life-threatening disease, such as a missed cancer diagnosis or missed coronary artery disease diagnosis, the patient is deprived of precious opportunities for early, potentially life-saving intervention. Tragically, the patient’s condition may have advanced to an untreatable stage by the time he or she finally receives the right information.
Some examples of commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Bone cancer
- Breast cancer
- Celiac disease
- Colon cancer (colorectal cancer)
- Coronary artery disease
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
- HPV (Herpes Simplex Virus)
- Lung cancer
- Lyme disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
If you or one of your loved ones was given an incorrect diagnosis and suffered harm as a result, you may be able to recover compensation to help with your medical bills, lost income, and other losses and expenses. For a free legal consultation, call the diagnostic error attorneys of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 today. Our experienced legal team is available around the clock to answer your questions and help you pursue the justice and accountability you deserve.