Doctors and other healthcare professionals use a variety of tests to diagnose and treat illnesses. When the results of those tests are not properly read, a dangerous condition may go untreated. This, in turn, can lead to serious complications, including wrongful death. If you or a loved one suffered because of misread test results, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.
At Cooper Schall & Levy, we take malpractice cases seriously. We will review your claims and let you know what legal rights you have. If necessary, we will take your matter to court and demand compensation for your losses.
Types of Medical Testing
Testing is used to diagnose and treat numerous medical conditions. It is also used to track the progress of a disease, which is necessary to administer treatment and assess how well a previous medication or treatment is working. The role of medical testing can hardly be understated, and doctors may use these or other tests with their patients:
- Blood, urine, and saliva testing
- Testing other fluids, such as those surrounding the spinal cord and brain
- CT (computed tomography) scans
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
- Pap smears
- Genetic testing
These and other tests are used to identify conditions such as:
- Blood diseases
- Cancers and tumors
- Cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, and strokes
- HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Kidney, liver, and thyroid disorders
How Do Misread Test Results Occur?
Although tests are methodical, they are subject to human input and interpretation. Naturally, this opens the door to the likelihood of a misread test result. These are some reasons misread test results occur:
- Negligent, careless, or rushed lab technicians and other healthcare professionals. Technicians who administer a particular test must be patient and use extreme care. This is also true when it comes to reading the results of the test. Doctors and other healthcare professionals must use their training and experience to reliably interpret those results.
- Lack of experience with the particular test administered or the disease tested. Whether it’s a lab technician or other professional who is reading a test, lack of experience can easily cause the results to be misinterpreted. Doctors who are unfamiliar with a disease should refer the patient elsewhere to make sure the right test is ordered.
- Testing an unreliable sample or the wrong sample. If the sample of bodily fluid, tissue, or other substance is not reliable, it will not yield a trustworthy result. In a worst-case scenario, a technician may test another patient or may read another patient’s test results instead of yours.
- Ordering or performing the wrong test. A related problem is not ordering the correct test to search for signs of a disease or illness. Or, the correct test may be ordered, but the responsible technician performs the wrong one.
- Failure to observe an illness or disorder. Sometimes, a doctor or lab technician simply does not see the illness or condition complained of in the results. A common example is failing to spot something on an X-ray.
- Communication errors. In some of the most egregious cases, a problem is identified in a medical test but not communicated to the treating physician. With so many individuals involved in a single patient’s healthcare, the results of a communication error can prove disastrous.
The Consequences of Misread Test Results
Every patient is different, and failing to properly read a medical test will, therefore, have different consequences from one case to another. Generally, however, these are some of the common problems that arise because of misread test results:
- The progression of a disease, like cancer, that could have been treated
- Separate complications that arise from the delayed diagnosis of a disease
- Internal bleeding, leading to brain damage, organ damage, and other problems
- An STD that may later be transmitted to a sexual partner
- Unnecessary, time-consuming, and expensive treatments to treat an illness you don’t have
- Risky treatments to reverse the damage caused by the delayed diagnosis
- Failure to identify potential birth defects and abnormalities
- Death, in cases where the disease or injury is too advanced to correct
Doctors and lab technicians are not perfect, nor are they expected to know everything. This means that not every instance of a misread test result is because of malpractice. However, a misread test result will be considered malpractice if it was the result of negligence. Negligence means the doctor or other healthcare professional deviated from accepted standards of care.
Proving malpractice with respect to misread test results requires that the injured patient establish:
- A duty of care owed by the doctor, lab technician, or other healthcare professionals
- Breach of that duty of care because of negligence (failing to meet the accepted standard of care)
- The breach caused some type of injury to the patient
- As a result of the injuries, the patient suffered recoverable damages
If you’ve been injured due to misread test results, it is important that you and your attorney document what happened. This means preserving medical records concerning any and all treatments you received. Doing so also helps establish the nature of your damages, and what your case may be worth. Victims of malpractice could be eligible for compensation related to:
- Medical bills
- Prescription drug costs
- Other expenses associated with necessary medical treatments and hospitalization
- Lost and future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death in the event the patient died
Contact Our Philadelphia Misread Test Results Attorney Today
Malpractice cases are complex and require the well-credentialed medical experts. If you’re a victim of a misread test result, you can’t afford to take on the doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies alone. You need and deserve the experienced team of Cooper Schall & Levy. Let our dedicated and compassionate attorneys go to work for you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.