Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and senior attorney
I recently published a couple blogs about the closing of Georgetown University Hospital’s Lab and the rise in laboratory errors nationwide, which has caused patients tremendous physical and emotional anguish nationwide. I thought you might like to know about an article I read in Good Housekeeping that included some good advice about how to protect yourself from lab errors. Here are some suggestions taken from the article:
- "Ask your doctor about the lab she uses. It should be accredited and approved by the College of American Pathologists (a sign that it meets high standards).
- If you can see the test tube or slide, double-check that your name is on it; if you’re in the hospital, make sure your wristband is accurate.
- If the result of the test is a surprise, ask your doctor: "Did you expect this? Do you think this is what I have?" If the answers are no, consider repeating the test.
- Get a copy of all lab results and reports, suggests Susan Sheridan, president of Consumers Advancing Patient Safety. "Patients may not realize they have the right to these," she says.
- Have a specialist read your slides. With a skin sample, for instance, you’ll improve odds of the right diagnosis if it’s viewed by a dermatopathologist, says Mark Lebwohl, M.D., chairman of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Your insurer may not cover a specialist, so you’ll have to decide whether to pay for it yourself."
Obviously, you have every right to rely on your doctor and the labs used for testing. They should know what they are doing and take all steps necessary to ensure that your lab results are timely, accurate, and properly communicated to your physician and, if necessary, to you as well.
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About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2011 edition) acknowledged as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers, and has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2010)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.
Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.
If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 202-822-1899.