Cervical Cancer Diagnosis Delay: $1 Million Settlement
2019 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
By Attorney Krysia J. Syska
Bristol Superior Court
In this medical malpractice lawsuit the plaintiff claims her PCP's failure to follow up on an abnormal Pap smear caused a delay in the diagnosis of her cervical cancer
In June 2014, plaintiff presented to her PCP’s office for a Pap smear. She had been complaining of bleeding between cycles since August 2013. A Pap was done and ultrasound was ordered for evaluation of the irregular menstrual symptoms.
The Pap smear showed atypical squamous cells and high grade squamous intraepithelial lesion could not be excluded. These results were abnormal and required immediate follow up with colposcopy, biopsy and/or endometrial scraping to rule out cervical cancer.
See other relevant information:
$1M Settlement - Death of 41-year-old woman from delay in diagnosing cervical cancer
A missed cancer case is often referred to as a "failure to diagnosis" or a "delay in diagnosis" of cancer, and is one of the most common reasons patients file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Learn more about: Cancer Diagnosis and Medical Malpractice
The plaintiff’s expert was prepared to testify that had this testing been done, plaintiff would have been diagnosed in 2014 at an earlier stage when the cancer was more amenable to treatment and cure. Inexplicably, the PCP defendant did not review the Pap smear results and therefore did not schedule any follow up testing.
It was not until May 2015 after a visit to the emergency room for night sweats, fatigue, abdominal pain and irregular bleeding that the PCP defendant ordered a CT scan and PET scan. The CT scan revealed bilateral pelvic masses and a mass like structure in the region of the cervix or lower uterine segment.
Biopsy in June 2015 revealed poorly differentiated carcinoma consistent with metastatic squamous cell cancer of uterus/cervix. On June 25, 2015, plaintiff was seen by her PCP who noted that she had not previously seen the results of the Pap smear from June 2014 that was abnormal. She further noted that plaintiff had not had a pap smear for several years prior to June 2014.
In August 2015, plaintiff underwent a PET scan which confirmed stage IVB metastatic disease and plaintiff underwent chemotherapy and radiation. She continues to receive follow up care and monitoring every 6 months.
The parties were able to settle this claim prior to the completion of discovery or trial for One Million Dollars.
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