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19 Apr 09 Lab Error on Blood Test

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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.

Angelman Syndrome - Click for Large Image

Angelman Syndrome - Click for Large Image

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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.

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Reader's Comments

  1. |

    Natasha-

    I think we should speak. I would like the person who is in charge of this web site to connect us if possible. I KNOW I could help with this situation as I was an executive with this company and concerned about situations like you have mentioned happening all of the time. LabCorp doesn’t and won’t take responsibility for their actions, they never do! I have a group of attorneys who could help you, as this is a serious situation. Not only did you and your family have to grieve over this, but the family who’s child actually has this probably is still searching for what’s wrong with their child. I have some additional information which would help your case against them. I would like to know what state your living in, though I am certain the test was performed at CMBP in Carolina. Most of the time, these tests are routed to regional ports first where the “mix up” can easily occur if the internal SOP’S aren’t followed which in some of their labs is an every day occurence! Please share a little more information and see if we can connect somehow! Either way, you must hire an attorney and sue them in federal court. I would even call CNN and other news channels as this needs the attention of the media!

  2. |

    Angelman Syndrome and Prader-Willi Sydrome are “sister syndromes” because they are caused by a disruption in the same area on the 15th chromosome, they are completely distinct syndromes with different symptoms and prognoses. Depending on what kind of testing is done, the results may come back indicating that the patient is positive for one of the two syndromes and then further testing needs to be done to determine which one. (Angelman Syndrome is caused by a deletion of the 15q region from the maternal chromosome, while Prader-Willi Syndrome is caused by a deletion of the exact same region from the paternal chromosome.)

    I’m glad to hear her son ultimately was negative for both syndromes.

    ADMIN NOTE: Kimberly thanks for clarifying the differences. Post is updated.

  3. |

    The the right solution for this family is to sue?.

    “The days between getting LabCorp’s lab results and finding out about LabCorp’s error were probably Natasha’s worst days of her life”.

    What about the familes of children who DO have Angelman Syndrome? Uncertainity and False positives do happen in testing. A diagnosis like Angelmans is complex. Specialists and second opinions are steps when dealing with these conditions. Worst days of our life when we waited of 5 years for a diagnosis? Not hardly, just, hope love and prayer.

  4. |

    You should contact the certifying agencies (CLIA, CAP, AABB) and report this issue, then get a good lawyer. This is very disturbing.

  5. |

    “The days between getting LabCorp’s lab results and finding out about LabCorp’s error were probably Natasha’s worst days of her life”. A lawsuit?

    What about all the families who DO have children with Angelman syndrome? Not the way we as a family dealt with our waiting for over 5 years to get a diagnosis.
    Testing for rare conditions like Angelman are very complex. The right course of action is seeing specialists, getting second opinions and of course additional testing to be sure.

    Hopefully she was relieved instead of devastated. And to now suggest suing the lab. I hope she gives all the money to the Angelman Foundation to help all those grieving and devastated families.

  6. |

    This is a perfect example of why LabCorp is not only an inept organization but a dangerous one. They hire incompetents and want you to abide by their erroneous standards. Companies that sell shirts and sandals have better customer care than this farce of a lab. Yes they turn a blind eye…yes they accept substandard procedures…yes they mix specimens up…lose specimens… and they will keep doing all of this. The medical industry hates this lab. Its nothing short of a prison camp for the employees and if they hear any murmurings that Labcorp is not perfect…then they give you a little pep talk. Idiocy, incompetency, inadequacy….its all there.

  7. |

    Why dont people visit the Lab that is handling their specimens. ITS Horrific what goes on in the Elmhurst Lab . I am a former employee who witnessed Supervisors, Group Leads, and employees pass around parts of a fetus . This was not a part of their job duty , they used some mother’s pain as amusement .
    This is what happened when companies promote dumb asses as leaders.
    Lab Corp is the worst place I ever had to work for. The Supervisor is a wasted , uneducated, controlling,racist, inhumane piece of crap.

  8. |

    iam sad to say i havent heard of this news sooner.. with it already being 2010 iam still disturbed about this story, iam a labcorp employee and yes i could agree that it might be the underdog of medical labs, and can say that i have witness un ethical behavior such as throwing dry ice in amusement the passing or jokes of a specimen or even the supervisor bad mouthing employees with disrespect i agree that lab corp should hire people with morals and ethics i payed alot of money to get a degree for this medical proffesion and started workin at labcorp and realized that it is not a profesional field at all people who used to work at burgerking with no medical schooling or background are hired here! so why did i wast my time and money on a degree!? ive witnessed people falling on test tubes because of anothers carelessness and it wasnt solved it was fixed by nudgging it off by laughing!? lab corp deserves a law suit for both the patients and employees, i feel the concern and pain for this family but for the little bit of hope, iam an employee who loves what i do despite the horrible conditions, i think of every test tube as a life behind it. someones son daughter mom dad exc…i take pride in my work knowing that what may seem as a little daily task to me might be some great use for another person and for that iam proud that there is one loyal employee that is for now workin at labcorp..but maybe there rivals QUEST lab will end up with a new employee love,prayers,and smiles

  9. |

    So in June 2010, I had labs drawn and received a phone call the same day being told that my HGB was 5 and looks like my TTP was out of remission. (TTP is a very rare blood disorder that I had in 09, during that time I was given a 2-5% chance to live ending with ESRD/ CKD) They confirmed that my platlett count was low and all signals were there. I had to inform my mother (who was so upset because we lost my father to a sudden heart attack six months before I was initially diagnosed) my kids (9 and 3) were crying and I was emotional as well because it seemed as if I had just beat it. Six months in and out of the hospital including a 58 day stretch and then right back. I was a direct admit to ICU and just before heading to surgery to get a catheter inserted I told my nephrologist that I did not feel bad and could she run the test again when they were preparing a type and cross for blood and plasma. So she did and it was normal only my pottassium was very low which I did not need to spend the night in the ICU. I was kept over night and tested again that morning.

    Then in september, the lab tech stuck me four unsuccessful times on my left arm. She then asked me if I was still on dialysis (noticing my bracelet) I advised her that I was off and that no one ever uses my fistula to draw labs. She stated that i was dehydrated and that she could not get blood in my small left arm veins. So I said well i’m sure u know more than I do and she stuck my right arm directly in my AV fistula. During the draw she says oh no, that’s arterial blood, it will be inaccurate and snatched the needle out. Since then my fistula has clotted off as well as the entire vein from my elbow to my wrist. I am so angry and need labs on a regular basis. I will never let my doctors lab draw labs on me again. What can I do about these incidents? Two in one year on one person, I know if they have done this to me only god knows how many other people.

  10. |

    On January 16, 2012 I had a spinal tap to check for MS. The fluid was sent to Labcorp. Today, February 23, I found out that Labcorp did not freeze the fluid and could not do the ms panel. I spent 4 days in the hospital and had two blood patches because of the spinal tap! Lapcorp also said I have high white blood cell count in my fluid, how do I know this is correct. My insurance contracts out to Labcorp, I am unable to use anyone else! I don’t know what to do!



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