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Medical Malpractice Claims Resulting from Lab Test Mistakes

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

Rockford medical malpractice attorneysLaboratory tests are used to assess a person's bodily fluids or tissues for signs of disease. Test results can also help doctors and patients understand their risk of illnesses like diabetes or adverse health events such as heart attacks. When laboratory tests are administered, analyzed, and reported correctly, they can be invaluable medical tools. Unfortunately, error-ridden lab tests can do more harm than good and may even lead to medical malpractice claims.

Lab Test Results Are Crucial

Some of the most common lab tests used to diagnose illnesses and assess risk for disease include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)
  • Lipid panel
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test
  • Urinalysis

Of course, there are countless other lab tests that could be used to identify more specific condisionts. These tests are often performed in hospital or clinic laboratories, but they may also be done in independent labs. No matter where the tests are conducted, human error can occur at any stage, from specimen collection to final results reporting. Doctors can only make informed decisions about patient treatment when they have accurate lab test results. Similarly, patients need accurate test results to understand the lifestyle changes or medical interventions needed to promote good health.

Mistakes Involving Medical Laboratory Tests

Sometimes, a mistake is made when a nurse, phlebotomist, other medical professional collects a sample of the patient's body fluid or tissue. Errors that might occur during specimen collection include:

  • Incorrectly labeling the specimen
  • Using the wrong tube or container
  • Drawing blood from the wrong vein
  • Not drawing enough blood
  • Collecting a contaminated specimen

These errors can cause inaccurate test results that may lead to a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose an illness. 

Other times, the problem occurs during specimen analysis or results reporting. For example, a laboratory might fail to spot cancer cells in a tissue sample, causing a missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer. The lab may delay the analysis of a blood sample too long or fail to communicate the results of a test in a timely manner causing the patient's condition to worsen. Laboratory technicians may even mix up patient samples, causing both parties to receive inaccurate results. Mistakes can also take the firm of substandard record keeping.

Sometimes, the fault for a laboratory test-related mistake ultimately falls to the patient's doctor. Doctors are responsible for determining the types of tests needed to diagnose a patient and ordering those tests. If test results are inconclusive or more information is needed, the doctor should order the necessary follow-up tests.

Contact a Winnebago County Medical Malpractice Lawyer 

If you or a loved one experienced a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or adverse health event because of a lab test mistake, contact our Rockford medical malpractice attorneys. We can evaluate your situation and help you take the next steps. You may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and more. Call 815-215-7561 for a free consultation. 




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