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Mistaken cancer diagnosis leads to unnecessary surgery: Mistakes in the Lab

An August Reader’s Digest article examines mistakes made in the diagnosis of diseases and medical conditions in the lab.

An example of the horrifying impact a mistaken diagnosis can have is a 61-year-old Chicago woman who was diagnosed with intestinal cancer after a routine colonoscopy. The diagnosis was particularly frightening because the woman had fought intestinal cancer-and won-10 years earlier.

After a two foot portion of the woman’s small and large intestines were removed, the woman began experiencing pain and digestive troubles. Her immediate thought was that they hadn’t removed all of the cancer. When she visited her doctor during a six-week checkup, she received troubling news. She didn’t have cancer at all. She had been misdiagnosed when her tissue sample had been contaminated with another person’s cancerous cells. She had endured unnecessary surgery.

This story illustrates the different forms medical errors and medical malpractice can take. Misdiagnosis in labs is a serious problem, particularly when the diagnosis leads to potentially life threatening surgery.

For the full article.