After at least 10 patients received improper diagnoses owed to pathology lab errors, Winston Salem, N.C.-based Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has been reviewing 9,291 cases ahead of a June deadline set by CMS that could strip its Medicare certification.
As North Carolina Health News reports, Wake Forest Baptist’s errors were costly. Of the 10 already identified, three of them underwent unnecessary surgery and radiation treatment in 2016 and 2017, including one who received a double mastectomy despite not having breast cancer. A fourth patient was “underdiagnosed,” only having breast cancer diagnosed 13 months after her biopsy.
All of those mistakes were attributed to a pathologist identified as “MD #7” in the CMS report, who no longer works at the hospital. But the problems went beyond a single doctor, the agency said, to failure to train workers in the lab or document whether recommended maintenance schedules were followed for lab equipment. Inspectors found failures to “monitor water quality, temperature and humidity levels in the lab,” as well as numerous expired supplies being found on lab shelves dating back as far as 2005.
Wake Forest Baptist didn’t respond to questions about how many case reviews its completed and if any additional patients affected by lab mistakes have been identified.
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