Doctors owe their patients a reasonable standard of medical care, legally. If you have medical tests conducted, never assume that no news is good news. While many offices have a policy of not calling when normal test results come in, the statistics indicate that medical professionals fail to tell patients of abnormal results 7% of the time.
If your doctor does not report abnormal test results, he or she is breaching the duty of care owed, and it is almost always considered malpractice. In some cases, test results may indicate that a patient needs immediate treatment, and failing to take action could put his or her health or life at risk. Medical facilities should report all abnormal test results to patients and record that notification as a proof of the interaction.
Sadly, unreported abnormal test results are one of the most common reasons patients file medical malpractice claims. For some, it means that their health was irreparably harmed.
Can I Sue My Doctor Even If I Am Not Injured as a Result of Not Receiving Test Results?
Medical malpractice claims, in general, hinge on the fact that the plaintiff suffers some kind of harm. For example, if you go to the gynecologist for a pap smear and the office does not report that the results were slightly abnormal, that is a problem, but it may not cause serious injury or illness. If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer six months later, however, and discover that the medical facility knew your pap smear was abnormal, you would likely have a medical malpractice case.
What You Can Do as a Patient
Don’t assume that a health care facility’s policy will ensure that you are notified. Most medical centers have some sort of patient notification policy, but that does not necessarily mean you will receive your test results. Always ask the office when the results will be available and mark your calendar. If you haven’t heard from the doctor’s office by that date, call and ask for your test results or an explanation about why they haven’t come in yet.
If you take a proactive approach and still have no luck getting your results, contact your insurance provider, a West Virginia medical malpractice lawyer, or another individual at the health care facility. You may want to consider changing your medical provider. At the hospital, whoever orders tests on your behalf is responsible for providing you with results. If the doctor fails to get in touch and you suffer illness or injury as a result, he or she most likely would be liable.
When to Reach out to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in West Virginia
Anytime you feel uncomfortable with the way a doctor’s visit has gone, you may want to reach out to a Charleston medical malpractice attorney to clarify your rights. If you discover abnormal test results at a later date, we would encourage you to get in touch with one of our experienced West Virginia personal injury lawyers for a free case evaluation. Your health is one of the most precious assets you have, and when a doctor fails to provide a reasonable level of care in treating you, you have the right to hold him or her accountable.
For more information about missed test results in medical malpractice, contact us at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC.