Virginia Laboratory Errors

When we see a physician for a checkup or seek medical treatment for a specific condition, we rightfully expect that the medical professionals treating us will do so in a professional and competent manner. Unfortunately, this does not always occur and every year thousands of Americans suffer adverse health effects due to medical malpractice.

Laboratory errors are one specific form of medical malpractice that is particularly dangerous. When laboratory errors occur, patients can be misdiagnosed, a serious condition can be overlooked, or a patient may even be confused with another person and undergo the incorrect treatment or procedure. People injured by these types of inexcusable mistakes should contact one of the experienced Virginia medical malpractice injury attorneys at Price Benowitz, LLP as soon as possible.

How Do Laboratory Errors Occur?

Early diagnosis and intervention are often critical in adequately treating and resolving a medical condition. In order to achieve these goals, physicians often order a variety of tests to aid in diagnosing a patient’s condition. Common tests that may be conducted can include analysis of blood, urine, or stool samples, CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, viral cultures, and mammograms.  Problems arise when the lab technicians who conduct these tests and the professionals who interpret the results do so in a careless, rushed, or negligent manner. Some of the ways that these errors can occur include the following:

  • Running the wrong tests
  • Mixing up patient samples
  • Misinterpreting the test results
  • Incorrectly documenting the test results
  • Contaminating patient samples
  • Excessively delaying  testing of a patient sample
  • Otherwise mishandling samples
  • Allowing unqualified technicians to run tests
  • Failing to report test results
  • Failing to order necessary follow-up tests

When these or other errors occur, the results can be devastating for patients and their families. In some cases, a condition that could have been easily treated becomes a serious issue that causes significant medical complications or even death. As a result, victims and their families may be able to recover by bringing a medical malpractice claim against the responsible parties. Because these cases require intensive analysis of the facts and often involve complex medical issues, it is important for victims to retain the services of an attorney who is familiar with handling medical malpractice cases.

Laboratory Testing Is Essential to Adequate Care

In order for a physician to care for a patient properly, he or she must be familiar with that patient’s medical history. This means being aware of any medical conditions that the patient may have prior to coming under that physician’s care. While laboratory testing is essential to the proper practice of medicine, there are many reasons why adequate testing might not be performed. For example, in emergency room situations, overcrowding and under-staffing may cause a situation in which a physician, nurse, or other medical staff may fail to spend adequate time with a patient. In addition, some physicians may be in too much of a hurry to give a patient the time that they need or may decide not to order certain tests because they are financially incentivized by a group health plan to which they may belong.

When a physician fails to order to appropriate tests and a patient suffers damages as a result of this failure, affected patients may be able to sue the physician or his or her employer for failure to diagnose. Failing to diagnose a condition in a timely manner can prevent patients from obtaining adequate care and may result in significant economic and non-economic losses. In some cases, failure to diagnose a patient’s medical condition can even be fatal. As a result, victims and their families should be certain to discuss the circumstances of their case with an experienced Virginia laboratory-error attorney as soon as possible after a medical error is suspected or recognized.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Laboratory errors can have catastrophic results for patients and their families. The Virginia medical malpractice attorneys at our firm are dedicated to holding negligent medical professionals accountable for their actions. We understand how important it is for victims of medical malpractice to obtain justice through the legal system, and we work hard to obtain full and fair compensation for our clients in each case we handle. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office and speak with our friendly team today.