When you have medical testing, you expect to receive a diagnosis of any health problems that you may have. The results of medical tests are intended to guide treatment decisions and to give you information about your health status so that you can receive care for any problems that may jeopardize your health and well-being.
Unfortunately, sometimes things can go wrong when you undergo testing or get an X-ray. When this happens, you may experience a worsening of your medical condition. In some cases, you may need more complicated, dangerous or expensive treatment as a result. In the most tragic cases, a person may even die as a result of injuries or an illness that otherwise may have been treated or preventable.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in any way as a result of misread X-rays and tests, it is important that you take legal action right away. An experienced Chicago medical negligence lawyer at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can assist you in understanding your legal rights and in obtaining compensation from those responsible for the harm you suffered.
Types of Misread X-Rays and Tests
Medical testing is the primary way in which doctors diagnose patients with many different illnesses and injuries. For example, patients may undergo:
- Allergy tests
- Cholesterol tests
- Blood pressure tests
- Bone scans
- Biopsies to determine if there is a malignant tumor or cancer cells in the body
These tests are used for a wide variety of reasons. The tests can tell whether you have broken bones, organ damage, internal injuries, brain injuries, cancer, osteoporosis or life-threatening illnesses such as HIV. The tests can tell you whether your baby is going to be born with a serious or fatal condition, whether you can get pregnant at all, whether you are allergic to anything that could cause a fatal reaction or whether your cholesterol or high blood pressure are putting you at risk of a heart attack. When a mistake is made on any of these tests, the consequences can be far-reaching. Your health and well-being can be seriously adversely impacted as a result.
Risks of Misread Tests and X-Rays
When a test or X-ray is misread, the consequences will vary depending upon what was missed. Some of the possible outcomes of misread tests and X-rays include:
- Death (if internal bleeding or organ damage went undetected)
- The progression of cancer spreading throughout the body or cardiac problems getting worse as a result of failure to see the signs of trouble
- The birth of a child with serious abnormalities when the pregnancy otherwise would not have been carried to full term
- Brain damage if internal brain bleeding was missed or if doctors failed to detect problems resulting in insufficient oxygen to the brain
- A STD spreading to others when it would have been identified if the test had not been erroneous
- Receiving unnecessary treatment if you are diagnosed with a medical condition you do not have.
These and other consequences can be devastating or fatal. In fact, one study published in the British Medical Journal indicated that as many as 40,500 adult patients in intensive care units may die as a result of a misdiagnosis each year.
Who is Responsible for Misread Tests and X-rays?
Healthcare professionals may make many different types of mistakes in reading tests and X-rays. They may mix up your sample with someone else’s, contaminate the test sample or simply fail to see what should have been seen in the test results. Test results can become lost. There also may be situations where a doctor never follows up with a lab to see what became of the results. In any situation when a mistake is made, the key will be to determine who made the error, and whether the mistake was one that a reasonable provider would have made. To hold any healthcare provider responsible for misread tests and X-rays, the patient will need to show:
- That the provider owed the patient a duty – For example, doctors have a duty to perform tests correctly and to make their patients aware of adverse lab results.
- The provider breached the duty – This is determined by a “reasonable professional” standard. Would a reasonable doctor, nurse, hospital or lab tech with the same background have made the same mistake in the same situation? If not, then the provider who made the error is negligent.
- Did the mistake directly lead to harm – You will need to show that the botched tests or misread X-rays were the direct cause of some harm to you that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred if the error had never been made.
If you can prove all of these elements, you should be entitled to compensation for all financial and non-economic losses that occur as a result of the botched tests or X-rays.
Get Help from an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Law Firm
It is devastating when the healthcare providers who were supposed to protect and treat you make mistakes that cost you your health or the life of a loved one. Negligent healthcare providers must be held accountable through medical malpractice claims. However, cases involving misread lab results can be difficult. It is challenging to show exactly what harm you suffered as a result of the botched test results. This is why it is crucial to get help from lawyers who have a deep background in this area of the law, such as the legal team of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. We can help you to find witnesses, put together evidence and prove your case, building on the skills and experience we have developed through many years of successfully representing clients in medical malpractice claims. To learn more about how we can assist you with your case, please give us a call or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout Chicago and Illinois. We can provide you with a free consultation.
- Diagnostic Errors in the Intensive Care Unit: A Systematic Review of Autopsy Studies, BMJ Quality & Safety