Women between the ages of 21 and 65 should undergo a yearly pap smear. If a doctor fails to conduct or order a pap smear for a woman in this age range, this may constitute medical malpractice. Proving that a doctor should have ordered a pap smear requires examining a woman’s medical history and the circumstances surrounding the alleged failure to diagnose.
A Palm Beach County pap smear misdiagnosis lawyer should be committed to helping support women suffering from cervical cancer following a pap smear misdiagnosis. An experienced medical malpractice attorney understands the impact a misdiagnosis can have on you and your family and will work on your behalf to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. En Español.
Liability for Pap Smear Misdiagnoses
Doctors and healthcare professionals are bound by Florida law to meet the professional standard of care expected of all healthcare providers in the state. This means that—as Florida Statutes §766.102(1) outlines—doctors are expected to treat their patients with care and skill and provide treatment appropriate for the surrounding circumstances.
Under Florida Statutes §766.102(4), doctors are required to act in “good faith and with due regard for the prevailing professional standard of care.”
Instances of Pap Smear Misdiagnosis
The Papanicolaou, or Pap test, is considered one of the most effective tools in preventing cervical cancer in women. However, the Pap test is not 100 percent effective in identifying cervical cancer, and can result in an improper result under certain conditions and circumstances.
Failure to Properly Conduct a Pap Smear
A Pap smear involves scraping cells from the opening of the cervix by using a device called a speculum. However, a doctor may not properly conduct this exam or may not collect enough cells during this relatively short exam.
Failing to Properly Plate Cells
After a doctor has conducted a pap smear, they will spread the cells on a slide, or they will place the cells in a liquid fixative to be sent to a lab to be read. Failure to do this properly may lead to inaccurate or incomplete test results.
Improperly Reading Test Results
After a doctor conducts and plates cervical cells, the pap smear test is sent to a lab to be read. At the lab, technicians working under the supervision of another doctor will examine the sample under a microscope to determine if there are any abnormal cells or cervical cancer cells. If a technician is not properly trained or is not properly supervised, it can result in them identifying a false positive, a false negative, or inconclusive results.
Failing to Properly Follow Up with a Patient
Doctors are expected to follow up with patients if a pap smear returns abnormal results. However, a recent article published by the Good Samaritan Health Center noted that “failure to follow-up with detected abnormalities remains a substantial barrier to further reducing the burden of cervical cancer in the United States, especially among low-income and minority populations.”
A Palm Beach County Pap Smear Misdiagnosis Lawyer May Be Able to Help
A pap smear misdiagnosis may mean that a woman undergoes unnecessary surgery and painful treatment, or it may mean that cervical cancer goes undetected and is able to spread to other areas of the body, resulting in serious injury and even death. If you or a loved one suffered from a pap smear misdiagnosis, contact a Palm Beach County pap smear misdiagnosis lawyer today.