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Medical Verdicts

Cancer “cured” despite late discovery?

November 2005 · Vol. 17, No. 11
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<court>New York County (NY) Supreme Court</court>

A 30-year-old woman who had abdominal pain and abnormal vaginal bleeding went to the hospital and was treated by a physician. The next year a Pap smear indicated a low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. Three years later, tests revealed the presence of a 3- to 4-cm mass on the cervix that was later diagnosed as stage IIIB cervical cancer. The mass advanced to the pelvic wall, precluding a hysterectomy and necessitating chemotherapy and radiation.

In suing, the woman claimed the physician was negligent for failing to perform a Pap smear, failing to treat the precancerous condition, and failing to diagnose the cancer.

The defense did not contest liability but asserted that the woman had been symptom-free and “cured.”

  • The parties settled for $2 million.

The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn ( 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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