Wow, I can believe this is some aspect. I having been on the other end of this, I worked as a lab tech for the last 5 years. The person who runs and reports all the lab results. Where I work, we of course have a policy of reporting critical results. This is the general flow of it for INPATIENTS. If I have a critical potassium of 2.8 that I (as the lab tech) have 30 minutes to call it to the CHARGE NURSE of that floor. The charge nurse has to actually go into the computer, annotate that she has received it, then her clock starts ticking, she has I think 30 minutes to call it to the MD and annotate it in the computer. Of course, this system hasn't always been what we have done, but after all the tweaking and working the bugs out of old systems, this has worked the best according to all those fancy and colorful PI charts supervisors make. And it is documented from start to finish who resulted the lab, what time, who called, who received it...ect.
Now for outpatiens, we call the doctors office, and give it to whoever will take it...secretary, ma, cma...whoever. After that we (at the lab) can't track it because, all our computer systems arent linked together, but we do record in our computer who we gave it to. Now, if it's after hours, that is a different story because we have to call the MD on call for that practice and give it directly to him.
As far as a MD not telling a patient about cancer, or other pathology type specimens...thats crazy. I know our pathologist's call all positive cancer biopsies to the actual MD and that get's put in the computer, what MD they notified and what time.
These days, its all about CYA (Cover Your A**) and documentation. Even from a lab perspective.