Laboratory personnel plays an important role in providing adequate healthcare to patients in Illinois. Any errors committed in a lab may result in making the patient sicker. These mistakes can also be classified as a type of medical malpractice known as laboratory malpractice.
When are error considered laboratory malpractice?
Not every error in a laboratory constitutes laboratory or medical malpractice. In order to be malpractice, a laboratory professional must fail to use reasonable skills and diligence when providing care. A failure to do so that results in substandard care can be considered laboratory malpractice.
Errors that occur in a lab have to meet these criteria in order to be considered laboratory malpractice:
• A legal duty to the patient must exist
• The laboratory technician must have breached their duty
• An injury must have occurred as a result of the breach of duty
• Harm to the patient must exist because of the injury
What types of laboratory malpractice occurs?
Laboratory malpractice occurs in a hectic environment that makes it easy for an medical error to take place. As a result, multiple types of malpractice can occur in a lab, including:
• Rushing lab reports
• Mixing up samples
• Delaying testing excessively
• Using incorrect equipment
• Contaminating lab samples
• Performing an image scan incorrectly
• Sending reports or samples to the wrong location
• Losing test results or samples
How does laboratory malpractice affect patients?
Lab malpractice poses potential harm to patients in the form of misdiagnosis. Patients can receive a diagnosis that is either less or more severe than their actual diagnosis. As a result, patients can waste time and money on treatments that do not work. As a result of a misdiagnosis, a patient’s condition can get progressively worse. In very severe cases, lab malpractice can result in death.