Pregnancy test: Laboratory sued for ‘false negative’

Published: September 23, 2012
Lab owner denies allegation, plans to contest suit. PHOTO: REUTERS / FILE

Lab owner denies allegation, plans to contest suit. PHOTO: REUTERS / FILE


A woman has sued a diagnostic laboratory for more than Rs11 million for what she says was a false negative pregnancy test. The erroneous test, “gross negligence and incompetence” of the lab, she says, caused complications in her pregancy.  

A consumer court on Saturday issued a notice for October 9 to the chief executive of Chughtai’s Lahore Lab.

Petitioner Fatima Sameer says that she was diagnosed with a severe urinary tract infection. Her doctor told her to get a Beta HCG (pregnancy hormone) test before starting the treatment. Sameer says her doctor wrote two prescriptions for her: one with antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy and the other which can have adverse side-effects during pregnancy.

She had a blood test done at a Chughtai’s Lahore Lab branch in Defence. After the lab declared her “not pregnant”, she started a week-long course of antibiotic injections. About 16 days later she had another pregnancy test done – this time from Chughtai’s Lahore Lab’s Model Town branch – which was positive. Sameer consulted a doctor the same day and following some tests was told that she had an ectopic pregnancy, which could cause problems. That night she had to be operated upon to terminate the pregnancy.

Had the lab not messed up her first test, she would not have required an operation to terminate the pregnancy, the petitioner says. She has prayed that the court award her more than Rs11 million in damages – Rs121,320 as hospital and pharmacy charges for the surgery, Rs1 million as damages for taking an antibiotic which was unsafe during pregnancy, Rs10 million for mental and physical agony caused and Rs25,000 as lawyer’s fee.

AS Chughtai, the lab’s owner, could not be reached for comment. Umar Chughtai, the owner’s son, told The Express Tribune he would contest the case in court. He said the lab did not report a false negative. “There is an 18-day gap between the first and second pregnancy tests. The pregnancy may have occurred in the two weeks between the tests,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Sep 23, 2012 - 10:03AM

    We take the quality of our work very seriously at Chughtais Lahore Lab. Every patient and every sample is important to us, and we realize that our lab results impact major clinical decisions.

    The lab’s Quality Control department has investigated the issue. The first test was performed at the end of June, and the other of the 19th of July. The first result is negative, and the second, almost three weeks later, is positive. Both samples have been retested with same results. Both samples are in the custody of the lab’s QC department.

    We look forward to presenting the facts of the case to the court.

    Dr Omar Chughtai
    Lab Director
    Chughtais Lahore Lab


  • Muhammad Sameer Iqbal Awan Advocate High Court
    Sep 23, 2012 - 11:24PM

    Dr Omer Chughtai, please correct your facts. The first test was performed on 31st of July, not at the end of June. Secondly, the Beta HCG value was shown as “<1.20" meaning that the complainant was not pregnant. The second test was performed on 17th of August, that showed the result as "more than 4 weeks pregnant". The tests performed by Chughtai's Lab National Hospital Outpatient Branch on 31st of July and the results provided were faulty which caused the patient serious mental and physical damage. The erroneous test results were due to the gross negligence and incompetence of the lab authorities.Recommend

  • sara ahmed
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:33AM

    hey i heard it was weeks pregnancy and she had to get it operated…..their should be retested again.


  • Amna Sheikh
    Sep 24, 2012 - 2:10PM

    she was more than 4 weeks pregnant. their should be investigation made immediately as patient suffered alot. carelessness cant be ignored


  • Maryam
    Sep 24, 2012 - 4:56PM

    It was 6 to 7 weeks pregnancy. it would be interesting to know the proceedings. looking fwd to this case! the lab shouwed highly carelessness due to which she has to go a major surgery. yet have heard she is in trauma. The Lab needs to respond to it. Thanks Tribune to ring this issue to the mass!Recommend

  • Sana Masood
    Sep 27, 2012 - 2:53PM

    its very sad to know about that.. Our life depends on proper Medication & diagnosis is most Important in any serious illness, but unfortunately people are so negligence 8 reluctant that they didn’t give not importance to anyone life’s, this is only One case we know because of fact Mr. Sameer arise his voice ,Many would not even know there serious illness & bad condition ,that would may be leads to a death of any person … as we are depending on Laboratory test!!
    As Mr. Sameer Iqbal pointed that second result shows that Pregnancy was older than 4 weeks, its imperative for Chughtais that instead of denying the fact ,respect humanity & make their Quality Control Better ,Cause its not about Money & business ,Its about someone Life that would be safe!!Recommend

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