Woman's cervical cancer missed for number of years

Washington Hospital, located about 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, now finds itself in the center of a medical malpractice lawsuit. A former female patient claims a pathologist at the facility misread pap smears and other tests for close to five straight years before she finally was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

The hospital has been reviewing its procedures, but also maintains that there are no indications that its practices have been deficient when it comes to a failure to diagnose while reviewing these types of tests. The pathologist in question stated that the reviews of this test “did very well,” also.

The patient in question was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2011, only two months after she had given birth to a child. Fortunately, the woman responded well to treatment and is now described as being cancer free.

Though there is a possibility of random failures occurring regarding these pap smears tests, the concern regarding this particular case is that the tests were misread for five straight years. If this woman’s cancer was missed, one has to wonder if other symptoms of cancer were missed for other patients as well. It’s because of this mistake occurring with such consistency that procedures of the hospital are being reexamined.

Medical malpractice cases often come about because procedures are not followed, or the procedures put in place are faulty. When it comes to a subject like cancer, we cannot afford to have a diagnosis missed.

Attorneys will focus in on what the hospital did wrong in cases such as this. Medical malpractice lawsuits will force hospitals to reexamine the way business is conducted to make certain that a misdiagnosis as serious as this does not occur again.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Washington Hospital reviewing hundreds of Pap tests after lawsuit,” by Sean D. Hamill, Nov. 16, 2012