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The Dangers of False Positive Test Results

Sep 6, 2017 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice

When a patient sees a doctor in Indiana, he or she has a reasonable expectation that the doctor will not make errors. However, when it comes to medical tests, more people than just the doctor are involved. This increases the chances a mistake will be made. In fact, false positive results are quite common, according to MedScape.

While it can be a relief that a positive test result is actually incorrect, it can also cause many issues. A wrong result could lead to further medical procedures, some which can be quite devastating, such as amputation or chemotherapy.

While human error plays a large role in false positives, there have been other things found to lead to them. An odd example many people may not even think about is tattoos. It has been shown a tattoo can alter test results, especially for cancer. If a doctor or the lab is not aware of the tattoo in the testing location, it could lead to a false result.

It is perhaps the emotional toll a mistaken result has that is the worst and most long-lasting. Many times errors are caught before things go too far with medical procedures, but the emotional damage starts the minute the result is announced. According to Everyday Health, those receiving an incorrect diagnosis may suffer from anxiety. It has been shown they often go through the same emotional turmoil as someone who actually has the disease or condition they were falsely diagnosed to have, even after it is revealed they are fine.