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Lab Mishaps

The Maine lab mishap attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates have an established reputation for excellence in medical malpractice law. Our firm provides stellar legal service to clients in all areas of Maine.

Lab results are essential to making a proper medical diagnosis. They provide the knowledge necessary to detect and prevent disease. Blood work and urinalyses are performed by machines with amazing speed and efficiency. Most preventable lab mishaps, however, are caused by human error. Lab mishaps refer to any negligent conduct in either performing or interpreting lab work that results in injury to the patient. Even subtle errors in the lab can “snowball” into larger issues like misdiagnosis or treatment. Negligent parties may include the doctor, nurse, technician, or anyone responsible for the mishap. These parties are liable for any injuries caused by their negligence.

Examples of lab mishaps include:

  • Clerical errors
  • Improper labeling
  • Losing a lab sample
  • Contaminants in vial
  • Mismatching lab results to the wrong patients
  • Misidentifying patients
  • Incorrect disposal of waste
  • Improper analysis of results
  • A failure to sterilize the work area
  • Use of substandard materials

Lab mishaps are preventable errors caused by negligence. Millions of blood, stool, urine, and sputum samples pass through labs each day. Modern machines find what is important and print out the results. Mistakes can still happen, however, when humans fail to properly label the samples or place the results in the wrong file. In fact, clerical errors are the number one cause of failed blood transfusions. One mistake in matching the correct blood type to a patient can result in the rejection of foreign antibodies and, in some patients, lead to death. Lab mishaps also occur when contaminants or preservatives in the vial infiltrate the sample, causing skewed results. Prescribing a course of medication or treatment based on these results can injure the patient.

While isolated incidents of lab mishaps may not be actionable, a series or pattern of negligent conduct can be the basis for a lawsuit. Doctors who have a habit of overbilling insurance for non-existent lab tests and medical treatments are one example. A history of clerical errors, improper labeling, or lost lab samples is another. Physicians must determine the proper course of treatment when results show platelet aggregation or contamination. If community and professional standards dictate that this is a common result of preservatives in the vial, another test is required. Ordering the improper medication or course of treatment can lead to liability.

Doctors who misinterpret the results or miss a critical piece of data in diagnosing the patient are liable for injuries that result. Hospitals are vicariously liable for lab mishaps and any other negligent acts of employees.

If your injury was caused by a lab mishap, the experienced Maine lab mishap lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates can help. Our team of seasoned attorneys and medical experts work diligently to help you achieve the best outcome possible in your case. We have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for injured patients throughout Maine. At Peter Thompson & Associates, we know that lab mishaps can cause serious harm. That is why we are dedicated to maximizing your recovery at trial or through settlement. Call (800) 804-2004 for a free consultation or contact us online.