Ensuring That You Get the Results of Your Diagnostic Tests Could Save Your Life

When it comes to waiting for diagnostic test results, many assume that no news is good news. Unfortunately, too many Virginia patients have been injured, have even died, while awaiting test results that were mixed up or never delivered to the doctor.

Diagnostic Test Result Mix-ups Too Common in Virginia

In Virginia and across the nation, delayed and mishandled test results are a major cause of injury and represent a large portion of Virginia medical malpractice lawsuits. Unfortunately, the problem is not getting better with time, it is getting much worse. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology reported that the payouts from successful medical malpractice cases related to communication breakdowns quadrupled between 1991 and 2010.

This means that not only were more medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Virginia and nationwide, but that many more people were injured by a medical mistake. The most common miscommunications listed in the study include:

  • Patient did not receive test results
  • Clinician (doctor or nurse practitioner) did not receive test results
  • Delayed or slow reporting time turnaround
  • Test results filed before clinician reviewed them

For the average primary-care doctor, their daily duties include more than seeing patients. During an average week, PCM's review an average of 360 chemistry test results, 460 hematology results, 12 pathology reports and 40 radiology reports. In addition, one study showed that more than half of the doctors surveyed were not satisfied with the way they handled the test results of their patients.

Preventing Injuries Caused by a Medical Test Mix-up in Virginia

While computer systems can help prevent some missteps by warning doctors of un-reviewed test results, the system is not foolproof. This means that while the program might help some, the only way to ensure that patients and caregivers ensure that they receive test results in a timely manner is to hold doctors responsible. Call the doctor's office and ask for your results. If they are not in yet, push for an estimated arrival date and call again on that day.


Unfortunately, our Virginia Beach medical malpractice attorneys have seen too many patients injured when lab results are not reported in a timely manner. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a serious medical mistake in Virginia, do not hesitate to call an experienced Virginia medical mistake lawyer at 757.625.1214 for your free, confidential appointment.