Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 3, 2020

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A Tennessee pathology lab was found liable for failing to detect cervical cancer from a pap smear test. The victim’s cancer had spread due to the lab’s error and she had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation. It is thought to be the largest damages award in Maury County’s history.

Tennessee medical malpractice

According to news reports, Arnette Zapel went to the PCA Southeast Medical Center in Columbia, Tennessee (PCA) for a routine pap smear in 2004. Zapel had cervical cancer at the time, but PCA’s cytopathology lab technicians misread her pap smear and the cancer went undetected. By the time the cancer was detected, it had spread and Zapel was forced to undergo chemotherapy and radiation. She sued PCA for medical malpractice and a jury awarded her $5.5 million. It is thought to be the largest damages award in Maury County’s history.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence in which a medical provider acts, or fails to act, in a way that deviates from the accepted standards of practice in the medical community and those acts, or failures to act, injure another. While most medical malpractices cases are highly technical and require the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, the overall concept of medical malpractice is fairly straight forward.

In this case, PCA should have read Zapel’s pap smear test correctly. That was their job. It’s what other medical centers in the community would have, or should have, done. Their failure to do so caused injuries to Zapel and therefore, she was entitled to compensation for her injuries. However, it’s important to realize that the amount of compensation you might receive varies greatly due to the facts and circumstances of your case, where the case is tried and most of all – on the experience of your legal counsel.

Rest assured that doctors, nurses, hospitals and medical centers will have a team of attorneys defending their actions. If you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, make sure you hire an experienced Tennessee medical malpractice attorney to defend your rights. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.