Parents have many worries and fears when it comes to their children. They trust in health care professionals to ease their minds when their babies are born. There are many procedures in place for hospitals and workers to follow to ensure the safety of newborns, but unfortunately mistakes do happen. Recently, it was discovered that many blood tests for newborns in Connecticut were not being submitted to labs in a timely manner. This may have been the cause for misdiagnosis for one family in particular.
The parents of the little boy in this case say that blood was drawn from the baby soon after his birth for the purpose of routine tests that many hospitals require. The problem is that the samples were never submitted to a lab. The baby had health problems right from the start — he wasn’t growing and developing properly and was frequently sick enough to warrant staying in a hospital. It wasn’t for several months that he was finally diagnosed with being born with no thyroid gland — something that would have shown up had his tests been submitted. The parents say that this has affected his development significantly.
Connecticut health departments have standards for how quickly newborns’ samples should be submitted to labs for analysis, but some hospitals do not comply. Many hospitals do not track the status of these blood tests, and officials do not monitor the situation. Several other states have similar situations where it can take several precious days for samples to be tested, with some samples never being tested at all.
The parents of the little boy in Connecticut settled a lawsuit recently, which they felt was important to draw attention to the issue. They wanted to prevent the tragedy of misdiagnosis from occurring in another family. Their son still has lasting problems due to his undiagnosed hypothyroidism. If another family finds themselves in a similar situation, they may wish to pursue a civil claim to help them with any medical expenses incurred from such an ordeal. Nothing can take back a health care professional’s mistake, but there are ways for families to cope.
Source: jsonline.com, Secrecy clouds efforts to track newborn blood tests, Ellen Gabler, Dec. 30, 2013