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Pennsylvania medical malpractice suit prompts inquiry into hospital

When patients go to a doctor's office or hospital, they expect to receive competent care. Patients want to know that they can have confidence not only in the method of care and the doctor's abilities, but also in any test results upon which the doctor has relied as any Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney knows.

A Pennsylvania woman recently filed a medical malpractice suit against a hospital, alleging that the hospital misread her Pap smear test results for five years. In 2011, two months after having a baby, the woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She had been given regular Pap smears at the hospital for the four previous years. Her doctor read those previous results as normal. However, when the woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer, the doctor re-reviewed the previous slides and noted that the slides showed cell growth that is generally a trigger for additional tests.

This lawsuit has prompted the hospital to seek an independent review of its pathology services to determine if their services lack in quality. They have sent out 500 slides for third-party review. In addition, several other groups are conducting their own investigations, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Medical malpractice claims are generally based on the negligence of a doctor, nurse or other hospital personnel. Health care professionals such as doctors must act according to the generally accepted standards of care. When they fail to conform to these standards and that failure causes injury, the patient may have a valid malpractice claim.

Fortunately, the woman who brought the lawsuit has undergone treatment for her cervical cancer and has been cancer-free since November 2011.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Washington hospital reviewing hundreds of Pap tests after lawsuit," Sean D. Hamill, Nov. 16, 2012

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