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Failure to Report Lab Results Frequent Source of Indiana Medical Malpractice

Jun 14, 2011 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice

The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Garau Germano Hanley & Pennington, P.C. frequently handle cases arising from a failure to report abnormal laboratory results. Breakdowns in communications between the lab, the treating physician and the patient lead to untreated conditions and, ultimately, serious injury.

The problem of lack of follow-up on abnormal laboratory results is well recognized in the medical literature. Often, abnormal test results are missed when a patient is discharged from a hospital while laboratory results are still pending. Because the patient has left the hospital when the abnormal test results are returned, the results are not forwarded from the hospital to the patient or the patient’s treating physician.

These failures of communication can and should be addressed by hospitals and healthcare providers. Where healthcare providers have taken action, these types of errors have been virtually eliminated. For instance, in 1992 Congress passed the Mammography Quality Standards Act. Among other requirements, the Act required mammography facilities to send written reports detailing the results of mammograms to both the referring physician and the patient within 30 days of a mammogram examination. Studies undertaken since passage of the Act have shown that the requirements have resulted in a more timely notification of results and greater patient satisfaction.

Hosptial and healthcare providers should have procedures in place that assure that their patients (and their patients’ treating physicians) receive the test results they need to assure patient safety. A patient should not suffer injury simply because she or her treating physician have not been advised of lab abnormalities.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a failure to communicate an abnormal lab result or any other type of medical error, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help. Contact the Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Garau Germano Hanley & Pennington, P.C. for a free consultation.