Even a highly skilled doctor cannot provide adequate care if he or she receives inaccurate information from a medical lab. Laboratory errors cause thousands of preventable deaths and injuries in the U.S. each year, and tragically, these errors are often rooted in carelessness and negligence on the part of lab technicians. If you or someone you love was misdiagnosed by Westminster Medical Lab or other laboratories in Maryland’s Carroll Hospital system, you may be entitled to compensation for current and future bills and expenses, as well as the pain, suffering, and emotional devastation you have endured.
The clinical malpractice attorneys of Whitney, LLP are here to represent you in your fight to obtain compensation. With years of experience representing injury victims in Maryland, our legal team is equipped with the skill, knowledge, and tenacity it takes to handle even the most complex of laboratory negligence claims. To schedule a free legal consultation, call our law offices right away at (410) 583-8000. We will keep your information confidential while helping you explore potential strategies for recovering compensation.
Did Carroll Hospital or Westminster Medical Lab Make a Mistake on Your Bloodwork?
Westminster Medical Lab is one of several laboratories belonging to the Carroll Hospital outpatient laboratory system, which also includes:
- Eldersburg Medical Lab (Eldersburg, MD)
- North Carroll Medical Lab (Manchester, MD)
- Taneytown Medical Lab (Taneytown, MD)
Together, these facilities provide patients with a variety of medical lab testing services, including:
- Blood draws
- Cholesterol testing
- Diabetes testing
In addition, Carroll Hospital works with Advanced Radiology to provide a wide range of medical imaging services, including:
- Calcium scoring
- Coronary CT angiography
- CT scans/CAT scans (Computerized Tomography/Computerized Axial Tomography)
- DEXA bone density scans (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry)
- Digital mammography
- Digital x-ray
- MRI scans (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
- PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography)
- Stereotactic breast biopsy
PET scans and stereotactic breast biopsies are exclusively available at the Westminster outpatient locations. Coronary CT angiography and calcium scoring are exclusively available at Carroll Hospital.
Common Examples of Laboratory Negligence and Diagnostic Errors
There are three stages to the process of getting a lab test done: the “pre-analytical phase,” which includes all of the prep-work that precedes actual testing; the “analytical phase,” or testing of samples and specimens; and the “post-analytical phase,” or analysis and disclosure of test results.
Many people assume that testing is the most delicate and error-prone part of the process, but in fact, it is actually the pre-analytical phase which is responsible for the bulk of all laboratory mistakes: as many as 70%, according to one recently published medical study. These errors typically include:
- Sending laboratories insufficient samples.
- Sending laboratories clotted blood samples.
- Sending samples which are missing information.
- Sending samples with information about the wrong patient.
- Shipping samples in the wrong types of containers, which can leak or become tainted.
- Storing samples under the wrong environmental/weather conditions.
While the pre-analytical phase is statistically riskiest, the remaining phases of the process also carry the potential for catastrophic diagnostic errors. Common examples of mistakes which are made during and after laboratory testing include:
- Allowing inexperienced lab technicians to work without appropriate supervision or review.
- Failing to follow up with a patient and/or doctor about the results of a medical test.
- Failing to calibrate, use, or sterilize lab equipment properly.
- Losing paperwork or patient information.
- Notifying a doctor about the wrong patient’s results.
- Performing a test on the wrong sample.
- Using obsolete or outdated testing methods.
Even if every other aspect of the lab-work is performed correctly, a single, tiny error at any point in the testing process can trigger a devastating domino effect ultimately culminating in an improper diagnosis for the patient. Lab mistakes frequently result in one of the following outcomes:
Misdiagnosis. A misdiagnosis is an incorrect diagnosis, potentially of a condition which has absolutely no connection with or bearing on the real illness. Some conditions which are frequently misdiagnosed include:
- Lyme disease
- Ovarian cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Lymphoma (lymphatic cancer)
False positives. A false positive is a test result which indicates disease in a person who is actually healthy.
False negatives. A false negative is a test result which indicates normal health in a person who is actually sick.
If you were the victim of a missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis because Westminster Medical Lab made an error on your lab tests, the diagnostic error attorneys of Whitney, LLP will stand by your side to pursue the maximum compensation possible for you and your loved ones. Call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 to set up your free legal consultation. Even if you aren’t sure whether you have a case or need a lawyer, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about your family’s legal options. We are here to help answer all of your legal questions, including weekends, holidays, and after-hours.