Cancer “cured” despite late discovery?
<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 (www.verdictslaska.com). While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.