There are many things to worry about when going to the doctor, including whether or not the suspected medical condition is serious, whether the recommended treatments are working, or if a baby will be born healthy. Wondering whether a person’s health, or even his life, is going to be in jeopardy as the result of a lab error usually is not a consideration. However, serious lab mistakes are made every day.

In the medical arena today, very rarely does a sample get drawn from the patient and taken back to a lab at the same facility where it is labeled, tested, recorded, and then reported to the doctor and ultimately, the patient. Instead, lab samples are collected, hopefully labeled correctly, batched up with many other samples, and sent to an outside lab for testing. The specimens then are processed and prepared by one or more medical professionals. The lab results then are analyzed and the results are input into a computer so that they can be sent back to the doctor. There are many different individuals involved throughout this process, as well as many different steps that must be performed perfectly in order for the right results to get back to the correct patient. When there is even the smallest of mistakes, the injury to the patient can be tragic.

Errors can be made with many different types of lab testing, including testing the blood for diseases, typing the blood for transfusions, performing a biopsy on potential cancerous cells, or cross-typing for a genetic match. There are many different mistakes that can lead to a serious lab problem, including:

  • Physician or nurse error when drawing the sample – this may include samples that are incorrectly drawn from the patient;
  • Improperly extracting the tumor cells intended for biopsy;
  • Mislabeling of the specimen that was sent to the lab;
  • Mishandling the lab sample, leading to contamination;
  • Utilizing outdated testing procedures or antiquated lab equipment, leading to errors in identification of a disease or other medical problem;
  • Misidentification mistakes – when information about the sample or the patient is input into the database improperly, it leads to improper diagnoses or other problems; and
  • Misinterpretation of what the lab tests indicate for the patient, leading to the wrong information being sent back to the patient’s doctor.

These mistakes have very serious consequences for the patient. It can lead to the improper diagnosis, the wrong treatment being recommended, and potentially the patient being sent home believing that there is nothing medically wrong with him while a very serious condition progresses rapidly. Specifically, some of the negative consequences might be:

  • Having a surgery that is not necessary;
  • Not receiving critical medical treatment in a timely manner;
  • Getting the wrong type of blood during a transfusion that leads to a serious negative interaction; or
  • The doctor prescribing the wrong medication that does not treat the actual medical condition and may have dangerous side-effects.

The consequences of a lab mistake can be serious physical harm and extreme mental anguish that may lead to pain and suffering for the patient. It is important to see an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as the doctor’s mistake has been discovered.

Murphy and Associates Advocate for Medical Malpractice Victims

Most people believe that their doctor is going to follow the right steps in order to arrive at a correct diagnosis and prescribe the correct course of treatment. When something goes wrong at any part of the process, the consequences may be life-threatening. If you have been the victim of a medical mistake, the skilled and dedicated Louisville Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Murphy & Associates will work hard to get you the results that you deserve. Please call us at (502) 532-8395 to schedule a free case evaluation.