Medical Verdicts

Failure to relay Pap results leads to cancer, radiation


Uknown County (Mont) District Court—A 38-year-old woman underwent a routine Pap on November 5, 1997. The nurse assured her that she would be contacted if the results were abnormal. On November 10, the pathology report indicated “atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance” (ASCUS). However, the staff never notified the patient of her results and her chart was returned to central filing.

In February 2000, the woman returned for a routine gynecologic exam where she learned of her 1997 results. She underwent a colposcopy and biopsy that showed Stage IIA squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix and vagina. She was successfully treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

The case settled for $750,000.

The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.

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