Beebe and O'Neil

DNA test may reduce risk of incorrect biopsy exams

Approximately 2.5 percent of all prostate biopsies are leading to misdiagnoses in about 1 in every 200 patients. With the increase in errors, this is leading to an estimated $879.9 million in wasted medical treatment costs. Over three quarters of that money comes from medical legal expenditures. However, Connecticut patients may be able to decrease these odds.

In a recent report, a Midwestern company is using the same technology used to run DNA tests on evidence found at crime scenes to also solve false positives on cancer biopsies. These Know Error tests could help prevent doctors from operating on patients who don't need it.

Demand to use the DNA testing products for false positives now exceeds the primary use for which the tests were originally intended. The Know Error system has helped 6 percent (an estimated 175,000 patients) who have undergone breast and prostate biopsies.

Although the goal of biopsy tests are to be accurate, laboratory representatives are still finding at least one error per week. These common errors are also increasing the risk of malpractice lawsuits. One of the reasons the DNA test may help decrease these lawsuits is by not running the same type of biopsy twice in a row. This way, no tissue from the previous test can contaminate a follow-up sample.

Doctors and lab technicians who want to know more about the risks of malpractice lawsuits in regards to biopsies may want to consult with a lawyer. While health equipment companies may be able to guide health professionals in the right direction when it comes to testing for cancer, an attorney could provide information to help doctors become more informed about medical legal risks.

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