Medical Verdicts

Failure to diagnose cervical cancer leads to death


Prince George’s County (Md) Circuit Court—A woman at high risk for cervical cancer had a routine Pap smear and was told the results were normal. A repeat Pap months later also was normal. The follow-ing year, she had another Pap smear, which showed abnormalities. Following a colposcopy and biopsy, the physician diagnosed infiltrating cervical cancer that had metastasized. The patient died shortly thereafter.

In suing, the patient’s family contended that the pathologists failed to accurately interpret the test results, causing a delay in treatment. Had the woman been properly diagnosed, they claimed, the cancer could have been treated in a timely fashion.

The case settled for $1.2 million.

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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