It is very important for medical professionals and medical facilities to act properly when it comes to biopsy samples taken from patients. Errors committed in regards to such samples can cause great harm to patients.

Recently, reported on a study that looked at biopsy sample errors by laboratories. The study was conducted by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis.

In the study, researchers looked at data regarding prostate biopsy samples from 54 testing laboratories. Reportedly, the data involved around 13,000 samples in all.

The researchers went over this sample set looking for two different types of biopsy sample errors. The two errors in question were: contamination of samples by foreign tissue and identifying a sample as being from a different patient than the one it was actually from.

Reportedly, the combined rate of these two types of errors in the whole sample set was a little under 1 percent (with the rate of contaminated samples being 0.67 percent and the rate of misidentified samples being 0.26 percent). The combined error rate varied among different types of testing labs. The type of testing lab with the highest combined error rate were independent reference labs. These types of labs had a combined error rate of a little over 3.5 percent.

Errors like the ones this study looked at can be very impactful on a patient. Such errors can result in patients receiving an incorrect diagnosis. An incorrect diagnosis can be very harmful to patients, as it can lead to patients not receiving proper treatment.

Thus, one hopes that medical professionals and medical facilities take all proper steps to ensure that such biopsy sample errors do not occur. One also hopes medical professionals and medical facilities are held accountable when they commit such errors and such errors result in a patient suffering harm.

Source:, “Study Shows ID Errors in Prostate Biopsies,” Charles Bankhead, Jan. 10, 2013