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When a laboratory is sent a urine or blood test to determine if a woman is pregnant, they conduct tests to determine the levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the woman’s body. HCG is a hormone produced during pregnancy. The levels of HCG rise as soon as a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, normally about six days after fertilization and continue to rise rapidly as every two or three days the levels can double. The lab results returned are best if the test is performed ten days after a woman misses her period. However, there have been cases in which the lab has either tested the wrong woman’s blood or urine or where specimens have been confused and the wrong results were given to the wrong woman, showing that she was not pregnant when she actually was. Because the woman believes she is not pregnant, she could continue engaging in practices that are unsafe for the unborn child.
Accuracy of Pregnancy Tests
There are two types of blood tests used to determine pregnancy. The quantitative blood test measures the amount of HCG in the blood, while a qualitative blood test gives a simple yes or no answer as to whether a woman is pregnant. For this reasons, it is believed that the quantitative blood tests are more accurate than qualitative blood tests. Despite the accuracy of the test, false negative results do occur for a number of reasons. However, when a woman is told that her pregnancy test is negative due to a mistake in the lab, the ramifications are much different than if the woman visited the doctor too soon or if there is a medical reason for a false negative result. When a false negative test is the result of an error by the laboratory that tested the blood, legal ramifications may exist for that laboratory. Just like doctors, laboratories must follow a standard of care when it comes to handling urine or blood samples. If the lab made a mistake that allowed the samples of two women to be confused, or if testing was not done properly, leading to the injury of a fetus because a woman was unaware she was pregnant, liability may exist.
Protecting the Fetus
One of the main problems of a false negative pregnancy test is that the woman, who believes she is not pregnant, could continue to engage in activities that could not only be harmful to the fetus, but, in some cases, fatal. Doctors may prescribe medications that could lead to serious birth defects or the woman could undergo radiation which is not recommended for pregnant women. An error by a laboratory reporting a lack of pregnancy can be extremely dangerous to the fetus.
There are several areas where a laboratory could make an error leading to a false negative pregnancy test. There could be a mix-up or loss of a specimen or an error in the performance of the test. When a pregnancy test returns as a false negative and it can be proven that there was an error on the part of the laboratory, a liability claim may be in order.
If you or a loved one were told that you were not pregnant and you believe that the laboratory made a mistake which has now caused harm to your unborn child, you may be eligible for a liability case against the laboratory. Call 703-370-8088 or Contact us today to learn what rights you and your unborn child may have.