Making a lab error on a blood test can have a serious impact on a life. I don’t know if LabCorp employees don’t care, or if they are simply numb to the impact of their lab errors because they rapidly run through so many blood tests. This is part of their “quantity is more important than quality” problem.
I received this email from Natasha today. I don’t know what I would do if this LabCorp lab error occurred during a blood test on my child. It is devastating news that no one should have to endure as a result of a lab error.
LabCorp diagnosed my son with a rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome by a Methylation blood work test. This syndrome is characterized with mental retardation, lack of speech, and seizures just to name a few symptoms. Our family was devastated, and we grieved for months.
When he got in to see a neurologist, he ordered another test to get more information about which type of the syndrome he may have. This test came back negative. We were shocked, but tried not to get our hopes up too high because we did not know which test was accurate. When we finally got in to see the geneticist, he ordered another round of genetic testing, this time a more detailed test called a cgh, as well as the original test. All negative.
LabCorp told the genetic counselor that they think they switched his blood. For privacy reasons they wont tell us anything, but assured her that they would try and find the child who really has this condition. As relieved as we were to have the good news, we are so angry for this mix up happening in the first place. Months and months of our lives were taken from us, and I still have not received one phone call from Lab Corp. We are unsure how to proceed from here. Anyway, this is an EXTREMELY abbreviated version of the story. Please let me know if you would like more information, I will do anything to help, no family should go through what we experienced.
My recommendation to Natasha is that she find a lawyer and sue LabCorp for punitive damages. A blood test lab error of this magnitude should be sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. One that I am sure LabCorp would settle quickly before the news quickly spreads and their testing service loses even more credibility.
The days between getting LabCorp’s lab results and finding out about LabCorp’s error were probably Natasha’s worst days of her life. No health services provider has the right to do this to anyone. It’s obvious that Laboratory Corporation of America understands money, so they should pay for their mistake. In addition, government regulators should step in so that this never happens again.
Even in this economy, LabCorp jobs are available. So what does it mean when you have a down labor market yet LabCorp still can’t find all the phlebotomists and technicians it needs? Maybe it’s the low wages they pay or the constant turn over that they have because of management issues?
U.S. labs employ 309,000 clinical workers, including 145,890 medical technicians who’s job entails running simple diagnostic tests, and 163,270 medical technologists who perform more complex tests. Technicians in the United States earn an average $17.36 an hour, or $36,110 a year. Technologists make $25.20 an hour, on average, or $52,410 a year. Technologists require training comparable to that of a nurse, but earn less and have less chances of advancement. Besides low wages, job issues also compound the LabCorp problems boutique.
Hospitals employ 97,370 medical technologists, that’s nearly 60 percent of the total. They also employ 64,300 technicians, or 44 percent. Hospitals tend to pay better for these jobs and therefore demand higher standards.
What does it all mean? Just read what their employees are saying in LabCorpSucks.com and that will give you an idea of how they feel about their employer. Another problem at LabCorp is the disproportionate amount of male to female managers. While a majority of the techs are female, the majority of the managers are males. It’s ripe for government action and sanctions under anti-discrimination laws.
This is an email that I received from Debbie. She sounds like a wonderful mother who feels for her son who will unfortunately have to give blood again. Just as bad is that LabCorp is attempting to charge her for their own mistake.
Just frustrated that I received a call from my pediatrician who told me that Lab Corp ran the wrong blood test on my three year old.
Unfortunately, they had to stick him twice to get a good vein. All the trauma and crying was for nothing, as they didn’t follow the doctors orders for the test. Now, I have to phone them and argue about payment. We have a very high deductible since we are self employed, and I believe we should not have to pay for a test that was not needed. Wish me luck.
Here’s a recent story from the Winston-Salem News. LabCorp’s clear violation of the HIPAA laws is of grave concern. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, releasing medical information to someone that has not been authorized to receive it is punishable by up to $10,000 per incident and prison time. The only problem is that out of tens of thousands of complaints filed, the government has fined just a handful. Well here’s the LabCorp HIPAA violation, which is probably happening on a daily basis.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — April 11, 2009, A Triad medical company said it mistakenly faxed almost a dozen pages of personal patient information to the wrong number.The lab test results were sent from LabCorp, and were meant to go to Winston-Salem Health Care. Instead, they went to Leigh Ambruso’s home insurance office.
“I don’t know how to read test results,” she said. “I know enough to know I wasn’t supposed to have this information.”
For six days LabCorp sent information from about 12 patients to Ambruso’s fax machine. Originally, she said, she didn’t think anything of it. “I just want people to know this is happening,” she said.
But the faxes kept coming. Ambruso said she explained the error to someone at Winston-Salem Health Care who was supposed to get the information. “She said, ‘Do me a favor and fax them to me,'” Ambruso said.
She said she finally had enough and realized the fax was violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). “I said, ‘If you send me one more fax, I’m going to call the patient and tell them I have their personal information,'” Ambruso said.
One of the patients….William Dull said he was anxiously waiting on results to determine if his cancer remained in remission. “It’s very upsetting,” Dull said. “It’s not being handled like it should be.”
No one at LabCorp would talk on camera. The company eventually responded.
“The fax number has been corrected in our computing systems to prevent similar incidents in the future,” the company said in a statement.
A Winston-Salem Health Care representative said that the company takes the security and confidentiality of patient information very seriously. “We appreciate the caller’s efforts to bring this situation to LabCorp’s attention so that it could be addressed,” a company representative said. Winston-Salem Health Care said it is still investigating the mix-up.