Doctor reading false test results to a patient.

The doctor-patient relationship is built on trust, and patients should have confidence in their doctor’s advice to make decisions about their health. Patients can suffer serious damage when a doctor makes a serious mistake, like misreading medical test results. Unfortunately, it’s far too common for doctors to misread laboratory results or fail to read them. 

If you believe your doctor misread your medical test results and caused you harm, you may have a valid claim for compensation. The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC have extensive experience representing victims of medical malpractice, including misread test results. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about whether you have a valid compensation claim. 

Types of Diagnostic Testing

Doctors rely on various medical tests to diagnose and treat medical conditions. Diagnostic testing can also be used to track the progress of a patient’s disease, which is necessary to administer treatment and assess how well the patient is responding to treatment. Doctors regularly rely on the following tests to accurately diagnose patients:

  • Testing spinal cord and brain fluids
  • Blood, urine, and saliva testing
  • X-rays
  • CT (computed tomography scans)
  • MIR (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Mammograms
  • Ultrasounds
  • Pap smears
  • Biopsies
  • Genetic testing

When interpreted correctly, these diagnostic tests are used to identify the following conditions:

  • Cancers and tumors
  • Blood diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and heart attacks
  • Aneurysms
  • Influenza
  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Liver, kidney, and thyroid disorders 
Dell & Dean, PLLC. medical malpractice attorneys in New York & Long Island offering free consultations.

How Do Misread Medical Test Results Occur?

Even when doctors order the appropriate diagnostic tests and correctly perform them, medical malpractice can occur. Diagnostic tests are subject to human input and interpretation. The error rate for radiologists interpreting tests is especially high when radiologists lack experience. 

The Doctor or Radiologist Lacks Training or Experience

The first error related to misreading medical tests involves a knowledge error. The radiologist or doctor may not have enough training or experience in a disease to identify the significance of a particular test result correctly. For example, a doctor who works as an oncologist is required to have the knowledge and skill that a reasonable oncologist would have, not the skill that a general practitioner would have. A reasonable oncologist knows how to interpret diagnostic tests for specific types of cancer accurately. When an oncologist lacks the training or experience necessary to interpret a diagnostic test for cancer, the patient’s cancer could worsen and become more difficult to treat. 

The Doctor Or Radiologist Isn’t Up-To-Date with Advances in Medical Science

Doctors are required to stay up-to-date with advances in medical science. Their education needs to continue long after they graduate from medical school. They must attend educational conferences and read medical journals to stay current. For example, the protocols for diagnosing and treating cancer are significantly different from decades ago. When doctors fail to stay up-to-date on diagnostic best practices, they may fail to meet the standard of care and misdiagnose a patient’s medical conditions.

Perception Errors Can Lead to Misread Tests

Sometimes, the doctor or radiologist reviewing the test simply fails to notice something that indicates the patient has a disease or medical condition. A shadow on the X-ray may have made it impossible to see a tumor, for example. In that case, the doctor or radiologist should order another set of X-rays without a shadow. In other cases, the doctor or radiologist is distracted and doesn’t spend enough time focusing on the diagnostic test to accurately interpret it. 

Communication Errors Can Lead to Patient Injuries

If the radiologist reported an abnormality of the diagnostic film, but the results weren’t communicated effectively, the patient could suffer additional injuries. For example, the radiologist may have correctly reported the results, but one or more of the following types of negligence occurred:

  • The treating doctor never read the report
  • The treating doctor never turned the page to read the details of the report
  • The doctor never tells the patient the findings

The patient can become injured when radiologists correctly interpret the diagnostic tests but mistakenly report incorrect information to the treating physician. 

If your healthcare professional misread your test results, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. To recover compensation, you and your attorney must prove that your healthcare provider’s negligence in misreading the test results caused you damages. 

Proving Liability in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice resulting from misread diagnostic test results falls under negligence. In the context of misread medical test results, plaintiffs must prove that the doctor owed him or her a duty of care. A breach of the standard of dare a doctor owes a patient may occur in several ways, including:

  • Missing a diagnosis based on misreading test results
  • Diagnosing the incorrect medical condition based on misreading test results
  • Recommending unnecessary treatment plans based on a misdiagnosis

Proving liability also requires the plaintiff to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused the injuries. For example, suppose a doctor misread your medical test and missed a correct diagnosis, causing you to miss being properly diagnosed and treated. In that case, you can generally establish that the doctor’s negligence caused you harm. 

Succeeding in medical malpractice cases frequently requires testimony from medical experts. At Dell & Dean, PLLC, we have the professional network and resources to work with medical experts who can provide expert testimony connecting the doctor’s misreading of test results to the patients’ resulting injuries. 

Types of Damages Paid to Victims of Misread Test Results

There are several types of damages you may be able to receive because of your healthcare professional’s mistake. Plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits can pursue economic damages for medical expenses, lost wages, ongoing disability, and future healthcare costs. They can also pursue non-economic damages for the physical pain, emotional anguish, and ongoing disability you’ve suffered. 

Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Long Island Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice cases are often complex and require the testimony of medical experts. Proving that misread test results resulted in a person’s injuries can be difficult. If you’re the victim of a misread test result, you deserve to work with an experienced attorney. The medical malpractice division at Dell & Dean, PLLC is prepared to provide you with the effective legal counsel you need and deserve. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC to schedule a free case evaluation.

Dell & Dean, PLLC handles misread test result claims throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island as well as the boroughs of New York City, and the surrounding areas.