View Full Version : A problem with my local lab results?

04-10-2013, 09:00 PM
Like most of you I have frequent labs to monitor my health. I see doctors at eight different locations which are under five different administrations. I have most of my lab work done at three locations. Half is done at Mayo and a large metro system where I see my treating doctor and some related specialists for Wegs. The other half on my lab work is done locally at clinic two blocks away through orders faxed to them for the tests order by my various treating doctors at other locations plus labs ordered by the doctors I do see locally.

I use the ESR or sed rate and CRP for my inflammation markers. For review the CRP responds to changes in inflammation quicker and the sed rate is slower to change so the CRP is most useful. The sed rate is dependent upon following the proper protocol since it is a timed event of one hour and thus different from most tests that don't require such a factor.

The problem I recently discovered, which was confirmed by two of my doctors at two different facilities, is that my local lab work for sed rates are not accurate For the past year all of my sed rates from local clinic have registered as abnormally high and average around 25. All my results from the Mayo and other larger clinic system have been less than half of that (10-12) and well into normal range. The rest of my local lab work seems correct and is consistent across all three labs.

My treating doctor is aware of the erroneous readings and says we can just continue to get the local sed rates but cut them in half to get actual true results or just stop getting that test locally and just use the CRP which seems more accurate and also correlates well with my sed rates. My choice?

Thus my care won't be affected by their incorrect lab results for the ESR test but I feel some obligation to try get them to use the correct protocol to make their results more accurate. Other people might be getting incorrectly diagnosed or treated because of their erroneous lab results for the ESR.

My dilemma is how to tactfully bring this to their attention in a way to get them to effect the needed change.

I have considered three options to do so. I will begin by asking a friend who is on the board of directors as to who I should contact.

I did take an issue before to the CEO for the adjoining hospital who promptly got their errors fixed so I didn't have to drive to a near by town to get the services administered correctly. i think he might also now oversee the local clinic lab since the clinic and hospital have merged.

I could also take it directly to the director of the lab service. I used to know the person in charge but am uncertain if she is still the person the director of the lab since positions change.

I could write up a letter to whom it may concern and give it to my internist at local clinic and hope they take it seriously and deal with it but have my doubts this would help. I think a personal face to face approach will be more effective.

I think it is going to be very difficult for any medical facility to fess up to admitting they are consistently doing an important lab test incorrectly. But I plan to try anyway to see if they are willing to fix it. Other wise I have been very happy with local lab services and most of the personnel know me quite well because of my frequent use of their services. I suppose there is a risk my attempts to fix things could change our relationship.

I also use a local ENT doctor too and several years ago I made him aware of a problem with the local pathology department when they misdiagnosed a sample for cancer which Mayo clinic did correctly as we had requested a second opinion. It was very disturbing to him to find out his local pathology stuff was not valid as he is a very conscientious doctor who wants to give his patients good services. Of course that was some time ago and they have new pathologists since then so this may be less of a problem now. But my point I think is that smaller clinics and facilities often lack the expertise of larger facilities that become more skilled at procedures since the larger ones have much more opportunity to specialize in their work. Yet is is so much more convenient for us in a rural area to use the local services than to take a half day to drive to a bigger facility in a larger town. My town is the medical center for 50 miles around and serves a much larger population than just our town.

I doubt anyone else has encountered such a problem. My treating doctor was very impressed that I even discovered this error but one thing us Weggies get good at is becoming familiar with our treatment and monitoring our health needs.

04-10-2013, 10:20 PM
drz, I think any direct approach done in a factual and respectful manner will be more fruitful than the to whom it may concern approach. Your success with that approach depends on the knowledge and savvy of the admin who will likely be the first person to read it.

04-11-2013, 09:05 AM
I think it would be more forceful working with the direct approach either to the CEO or if they have one, the Director of Clinical services. I would also let them know that you do have a connection with the board and that these matter are very serious and should be addressed for them to keep their credentials clean with the joint commission whom says yeah or nay to their doors being open. Good Luck and go get them. This is a very important issue and could lead some people into taking more meds to get their sed rate down.

04-11-2013, 08:25 PM
I think you should be the one to do it, in person, drz.......go get em

I wonder, though, why your doctor doesn't sort them out himself. He could certainly get the ball rolling in the right direction, especially if he knows they don't corrulate to the other tests

04-11-2013, 09:17 PM
I'd say go with the direct approach first. I think unless the people are unkind I'd guess if you came and pointed out the discrepancy they would work to determine the issue. If they react poorly or blow you off you could then go over their head to the CEO.

04-11-2013, 09:48 PM
I think you should be the one to do it, in person, drz.......go get em

I wonder, though, why your doctor doesn't sort them out himself. He could certainly get the ball rolling in the right direction, especially if he knows they don't corrulate to the other tests

The two doctors who are aware of their anomaly in reporting the sed rate or ESR work at different facilities and as the saying goes, they don't have a horse in the race. My doctors at the local clinic aren't aware of the problem yet and I would like to get it corrected before i see them again for my regular care appointments.

Debbie C
04-13-2013, 10:27 AM
How scary ,wonder how many other people and tests are effected ? Show them 3 different tests results and take it to the top person