What happens when a hospital lab botches testing or results?

What happens when a hospital drops the ball on lab work?

Doctors order blood work, urinalysis, and other studies to help them make correct diagnoses and treatment decisions.

In my experience as a Houston, Texas, medical malpractice attorney, I’ve handled many cases where critically abnormal lab results fell through the cracks because lab personnel didn’t call to report the emergency results. To add insult to injury, in these situations the doctors who ordered the lab work and the nursing staff didn’t bother to follow up.

As a result of this poor, negligent healthcare, in some cases, patients suffered terrible complications and required a longer hospitalization and treatment. In other cases, patients died. I remember one case where the laboratory at a hospital in Houston's Texas Medical Center didn't notify the doctors or nurses about a patient's critically low serum sodium level (called hyponatremia). The patient's brain ended up swelling and herniating, putting her in a vegetative state for the rest of her life.

In other situations, poorly-trained lab personnel botched testing procedures and generated faulty results.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured because of hospital lab errors, call the experienced Houston, Texas, medical malpractice lawyers at Painter Law Firm, at 281-580-8800, for a free consultation about your potential case.

Holding labs accountable

Lab errors are such a problem that The Joint Commission, an accrediting agency for hospitals, has adopted standards to hold hospital labs accountable. When The Joint Commission conducts accreditation inspections and surveys, it looks to make sure that these policies and procedures are in place at hospital laboratories:

∙ Staff are accountable to fulfill their responsibilities.

∙ The lab performs quality control testing to monitor the accuracy and precision of the analytic process.

∙ The lab results are in a complete report that is placed in the patient’s medical record.

∙ The lab performs correlations to evaluate the results of the same test performed with different methodologies or with different instruments or at different locations.

∙ The lab has a process for handling and testing proficiency testing samples.

∙ The lab inspects, tests, and maintains equipment.

∙ The lab participates in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ approved proficiency testing programs for all regulated analytes.

∙ The lab develops and implements an individualized quality control plan in an eligible specialty or subspecialty.

∙ The lab director, technical consultant, and/or technical supervisor are responsible for maintaining laboratory performance.

∙ The lab maintains records of its participation in a proficiency testing program.

We are here to help

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or even died because of hospital care, then the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, are here to help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

All consultations are free, and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Bryan/College Station, and Waco.


Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. He is a member of the Houston Bar Association board of directors and serves on the editorial board of the Texas Bar Journal. In 2018, he was honored by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. Also, in 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.