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Woman sues hospital for missed cancer diagnosis

A woman has filed a medical malpractice against a hospital, claiming that hospital staff misread her routine medical tests for five years and ultimately missed her cancer diagnosis. Since being properly diagnosed, the woman has successfully undergone treatment and has been declared cancer-free. However, because an early diagnosis is often the key to cancer survival, there are many more people in Connecticut and around the country who have paid the ultimate price for a missed diagnosis.

The woman named the hospital, its pathology lab and eight of its doctors in her medical malpractice lawsuit, accusing them of misreading her Pap smear tests for five consecutive years. In May 2011, following the five years of negative tests and two months after giving birth to her daughter, the 30-year-old woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer. After several months of treatment, the woman was declared cancer-free in November of that year.

Although the hospital's error does not appear to have had any lasting harm on the woman, the fact that her tests were continuously misread for a staggering five years has caused the hospital to launch a massive investigation into its testing procedures. Hospital officials are now reviewing at least 500 Pap smear slides that were analyzed by its pathology lab.

In addition, the woman's attorney has sent letters to several government and accrediting agencies to alert them of the possible testing and diagnostic issues. "It can't be random that her tests were misread for five straight years," the attorney told a local newspaper. "There's a potential public health risk here."

Source: Connecticut Post, "Woman sues over Pap smears before cancer diagnosis," Nov. 16, 2012

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