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Medical and pathology laboratories perform millions of biopsies, blood samples, and tissue specimens every year. Often times samples are contaminated and results are inaccurate due to negligence on the part of the medical staff and physician. Radiology laboratories examine thousands of CT scans and MRIs yet sometimes negligently mislabel them. This can result in devastating consequences for a patient. It is estimated that 160,000 people per year suffer some instance of harm as a result of laboratory mistakes every year in the United States. Whether the specimens are defective, the biopsy didn't extract tumor cells, or there is a mix-up of patient's samples, the occurrence of laboratory mistakes is a growing epidemic that can lead to serious injuries and/or death.
Why Do Laboratory Mistakes OccurAccording to experts, the process of medical testing is complex, dated, and error-prone. Testing often begins in a doctor's office or a laboratory, where a specimen or an image is taken. It is then examined and interpreted by medical professionals before the results are sent back to the physician who diagnoses the patient. Unfortunately, lots of things can go wrong during every step of the process, which can threaten the health and/or life of a patient. Laboratory mistakes often occur as a result of:
- Incorrectly drawn specimens
- Mislabeled specimens
- Mishandled specimens or images
- Misinterpreted results
- Patient information incorrectly entered into computer systems
- Identification errors
- Mix-up with another patient's sample