Hospitals depend on labs. There are dedicated labs for just some departments. There are also dedicated labs for very specific tests, including just blood, tissue, or other specific-labs. These labs may only do one thing and specialize in only performing one certain task. This is because physicians at the hospital will order tests and results which must be run through these labs. They are indispensable and very, very important.
But like everything else, labs can go down. This could be because one of the largest testing tools or machines could stop working and break, requiring a repair crew to come. Sometimes this repair crew is just the crew from the machine’s company, which sometimes they cannot come right away to repair the damage. This can create a significant delay.
Other times the computer system in a hospital or in just the lab can go down. Yesterday I spoke about what would happen if an entire hospital went down, including the electric or computer systems. Indeed, computer systems do go down often enough which can result in a serious problem. When lab computer systems go down, it can result in a very serious problem.
But what happens if the lab goes down and tests cannot be performed? Can this be medical malpractice?
Well, not always necessarily medical malpractice as much as it could be negligence. But the going down of the lab must be the proximate cause of the injuries caused by the victim. Thus a significant delay in a test result could be medical malpractice is the hospital staff waits until the result instead of performing other diagnostics or old fashioned means.
Meaning if a patient has a suspected appendicitis condition and imaging department is down and the lab is down, thus a physician may be delayed in getting a response for two hours, a physician may be forced to do a manual diagnostic test and use his or her judgment to determine that the patient is suffering from an appendicitis condition. This is important because some appendicitis conditions require immediate surgical intervention. The delay of two hours for lab tests when the physician could just do a diagnostic is simply dangerous and could be medical malpractice.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.