Lab tests generally don’t come to mind when people think of medical malpractice lawsuits. Unfortunately, many people believe that since lab tests are scientific, objective, and accurate, they are infallible. This is not necessarily the case.
There have been studies done that show that about three to five percent of lab test results are incorrect. The use of these incorrect results can lead to unnecessary treatments and surgery or delays in treatments that are necessary and life-saving.
Tests results can be affected by testing errors that include:
- Samples and patient information becoming mixed-up
- A technician may make an error in reading and interpreting the test results
- Samples may be contaminated
- The samples may be insufficient (not in enough quantities to detect cancer cells)
- Chemical interactions
Inaccurate results can cause serious damage to patients. Patients may lose employment opportunities due to a false positive during a drug screening. False positives in a cancer screening can result in disfiguring and unnecessary surgeries and false negatives can lead to a delay in treatment. These incorrect results can hurt people physically, emotionally, and financially.
When there has been a case of medical malpractice and the doctor ordered a lab test, you attorney should hire the help of an expert to review the test results. The expert may discover that this is where the negligence occurred.
A lab technician may have improperly conducted the tests, resulting in the medical condition being missed. Additionally, the tests may have been conducted properly, but the results interpreted incorrectly. The doctor or lab technician may have just looked at the wrong thing, missing what they needed to see entirely.
Since faulty lab tests can be a significant cost when it comes to medical malpractice payouts, some hospitals have begun considering employing techniques designed to reduce errors by automating the collection and testing process. They hope to eliminate human error as much as possible and institute quality control procedures, such as error checking and verification procedures.
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