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A failure to diagnose might be traced to botched tests

In 1988, Congress passed a law that allows simple and low-risk tests to be done in laboratories without oversight. Oregon residents need to know that this means that anyone can perform these tests without any formal training. A doctor's failure to diagnose a patient's condition might be traced to a botched test that is covered by this law.

For example, based on testing, a baby died after being incorrectly diagnosed and treated for Influenza A. In another instance, a woman received a false positive for HIV and underwent a cesarean section, which was proved unnecessary when she was retested for the disease. Another woman's botched drug screening led to her being accused of abusing prescription medications.

Doctors tend to trust the results of these unregulated tests without verification that they were done correctly and yielded the correct result. It is due to this misplaced trust that instances such as those described above occur. It might alarm readers that some of the tests that fall into this category are for conditions such as HIV, Hepatitis C and Lyme disease, which all have serious health ramifications for patients if not diagnosed and treated correctly as quickly as possible.

Like anywhere else, Oregon residents trust that the doctors and other medical staff attending to their illness or injury know what they are doing. They trust that the tests being conducted are done and interpreted correctly. However, when a test is botched, there is a real danger that a failure to diagnose a condition will occur, which could lead to serious, permanent and even deadly damage to the patient. In these cases, a medical malpractice claim might be warranted.

Source:, "Common medical tests escape scrutiny but often fall short", Ellen Gabler, Oct. 31, 2015

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