Millions of Labatorary mistakes occur every year in the United States. Laboratories include pathology laboratories and radiology laboratories. Biopsies, blood samples, urine samples and tissue samples are examined in pathology laboratories. Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies (MRI) and CAT or CT Scans are interpreted in radiology laboratories. Laboratory errors lead to problems ranging from unnecessary concern for the patient informed he has a condition that he does not have to delay in treatment or failure to treat a disease.
Errors occur when samples or slides are prepared improperly. Errors occur when specimens are handled improperly. There can be a failure to properly evaluate a condition if a biopsy does not "hit its target" and extract cells that will confirm the presence of disease. Errors occur when specimens from multiple patients are mixed up. There can be a misread of the scans or of the fluids or of the tissues. There can be misidentification of the condition in the films, scans, or specimens.
Laboratory mistakes can lead to a delay in diagnosis, a delay in treatment, inappropriate treatment, unnecessary surgery, the failure to treat a condition and even death.
Laboratory errors can occur when testing begins in one facility (for example, blood being drawn in a doctor’s office or an MRI being filmed at a clinic) and interpretation or examination is performed at a different facility. Even more complex is the fact that results are then relayed back to the ordering physician/facility. It is not common that a pathologist communicates directly with the patient or a radiologist communicates directly with the patient. More typical is the scenario where the pathologist or the radiologist is in communication with the physician that ordered the test initially. All of these transfers of samples, films and information increase the likelihood of miscommunication.
Physicians are not always the source of laboratory error. Specimens can be drawn or handled inappropriately. Specimens can be mislabeled. Information can erroneously be entered into a computer or onto forms. Samples can be confused with other patient's samples. Any of these mistakes can be at the hands of a nurse, technician, or other non-physician staff member.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a laboratory error or another medical malpractice case in Kentucky, feel free to contact a Louisville lab error lawyer at the law office of Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC. Our medical malpractice lawyer is here for you.
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