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Don’t Make This Mistake – Why You Should Always Ask For Copies of Lab Results

So, I have this draft folder where I save all my ideas for posts knowing one day I’ll come back to finish them up and publish them here. Some posts are more developed than others, some are just a sentence, some are just a link I found interesting and wanted to save for inspiration. While thinking about what to write today I happened across this old post from six months ago. While it’s quite outdated for my family, it’s still very relevant for all of you because I learned a big lesson from this experience and wanted to share it with you. So, today I’ll share this late, but still great post with you.

Six months ago….

We finally got to see an allergist at the children’s hospital following Tristan’s anaphylactic reaction to sheep’s milk feta cheese. It was a real eye opener.

The most shocking and truthfully maddening bit of news is that we were very misinformed about Tristan’s last allergy test results and if we would have been given the correct test results, we could have prevented his anaphylactic reaction all together. Here’s what happened. Two years ago Tristan was under the care of another allergist at a clinic (not the children’s hospital) and was tested for the top eight food allergens via skin test in their office. He had a mild reaction to hazelnuts, but that’s all. The allergist then sent him for blood testing of the top eight food allergens at the children’s hospitals, but the results were sent back to his allergist outside the hospital. The allergist’s nurse called us months later, and reported that his blood work came back completely negative across the board. The same results we saw when Tristan was 18 months old, so no surprise there.

BUT, his new allergist at the children’s hospital accessed his past lab work and told me a very different story. His blood work two years ago had in fact come back positive for dairy, walnuts, and hazelnuts!!!! What??!! If I knew my son had tested positive for dairy, I WOULD NEVER HAVE GIVEN HIM CHEESE!!!!! I was so horrified and angry and all I could think about was calling our previous allergist’s office to explain to them how they had given us false information which ultimately resulted in my son’s life threatening reaction to cheese. So, that’s what I did, I called them. And they confirmed again that the results that were sent to them from the Children’s hospital were negative. I asked him to specifically look at the dairy results to which he replied, ” He was tested for dairy? There is nothing here about dairy.” What? I remember it was on the panel, where was his result for dairy? I contacted the children’s hospital’s records department and asked for a copy of his results, it took a couple of months, but I finally received them by mail and guess what – the full test results were there. Turns out when the hospital sent the records over to our allergist, the last page with the dairy allergy was omitted somehow. I was speechless. How could this happen?

So, the very valuable lesson learned? Someone made a mistake. It’s human nature and it happens. I learned that I must be more diligent and request copies of all lab work before leaving an appointment and if results are left via voice mail, as was the case here, I must ask for a copy to be mailed to me. Period. No exceptions. If I had done this I could have prevented the scariest episode in my and my son’s life.

My husband helped me eventually see, that while we went through such a horrifying experience with our son, it gave Tristan (and my husband and I) a chance to really understand the extent of his allergies. Yes, it was a hard lesson to learn, but I know he’s more careful now and more aware than he ever was before.

So, please, learn from my mistake and ALWAYS ask for copies of lab results.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. jennjoy521 #

    Infuriating!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    April 17, 2014
  2. I always ask for my blood test results and any of my other family members, too. In fact, I even ask for any notes from the doctors. I ask for written instructions and everything else, too. I find that this not only helps me be in the know, but helps me ask better questions later on. It is also a great habit if your child or yourself goes to a practice and may see more than one doctor. You can never have too much information!

    Thanks for posting this! I am so sorry you had to learn the hard way, but I am hopeful that others will learn through your story without experiencing one of their own.

    Like

    April 15, 2014
    • Yes. It was a hard lessoned learned, it at least we know now.

      Like

      April 19, 2014
  3. wow, Jennifer, thats a really scary event to go through for you and your family. Thank you for creating this awareness and action that everyone should take to double check and be proactive. I am glad your son is okay.

    Like

    April 15, 2014
    • Thank you Lisa.

      Like

      April 19, 2014
  4. The Allergista #

    Wow, great point!!

    Like

    April 15, 2014

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