The pathologist's diagnosis of a tissue sample plays a key role in determining what kind of treatment patients receive, and what sort of outcomes they can expect. But because of errors such as mislabeling and cross contamination, specimens in the lab can be mistaken for those of another patient, leading to misdiagnosis.
The consequences of patient misidentification can include:
In one study, Nakhleh et.al.1 noted that:
1: Raouf E. Nakhleh, Michael O. Idowu, Rhona J. Souers, Frederick A. Meier, Leonas G. Bekeris, (2011) Mislabeling of Cases, Specimens, Blocks, and Slides: A College of American Pathologists Study of 136 Institutions. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine: August 2011, Vol. 135, No. 8, pp. 969-974.