Couple says bad test readings left woman with cancer, inability to have more children

By Chris Dickerson | Feb 8, 2006

CHARLESTON – A couple says negligent readings of pap smears led to a late diagnosis of her cancer and her inability to have more children.

CHARLESTON – A couple says negligent readings of pap smears led to a late diagnosis of her cancer and her inability to have more children.

Jamie McClung and Michael McClung filed the lawsuit Jan. 23 in Kanawha Circuit Court. Listed as defendants in the suit are Laboratory Corporation of American dba Lab Corp, Laboratory Corporation of American Holdings, Rainelle Medical Center Inc and Joan W. Worthington D.O.

In the suit, filed by attorney Arden J. Curry II, Jamie McClung says she was a patient of Worthington at Rainelle Medical Center and had pap tests performed April 27, 2000, May 10, 2001, Oct. 17, 2002, and Nov. 15, 2002.

She claims all of those tests were negligently read by Lab Corp.

In September 2003, McClung wanted to have another child and stopped taking her birth control pills. Shortly thereafter, she says she developed vaginal bleeding and underwent a D&C on Dec. 19, 2003.

As a result of the D&C, a cervical biopsy was performed, and it showed squamous cell carcinoma. A subsequent cervical cone redemonstrated the deep margin of the resection, and McClung was clinically diagnosed as stage IIB cancer.

According to the suit, it was determined her cancer was inoperable and she was required to undergo radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

The couple alleges that if she had known about the cancer earlier, she could have had less invasive treatment and no radiation or chemotherapy.

They say Lab Corp was negligent by improperly reading her pap test results. According to the suit, Dr. Michael Kaufman opined that all of the pap slides were inappropriately read by Lab Corp. He says that Lab Corp should have detected the cancer earlier.

As a result of Lab Corp's failure to detect the cancer earlier, McClung says she lost her ability to bear children, has developed necrosis of the hips from radiation and has seen her life expectancy significantly reduced.

Also, the McClungs say the care Jamie McClung received from Worthington and Rainelle Medical Center from 2000 until the time her cancer was discovered in December 2003 violated standard of care by not conducting appropriate examinations and follow-up examinations based upon the history of the pap smears as they were actually reported.

Additionally, the McClungs say they have incurred substantial medical expenses and will continue to do so in the future. She also says she has suffered severe pain and mental anguish and will continue to do so in the future and has been prevented from engaging in her usual activities and employment and will continue to do so in the future.

Her husband sues for loss of consortium that includes conjugal fellowship, society, affection, material services, guidance, companionship and sexual relationship.

The McClungs seek compensatory damages jointly and severally from all of the defendants, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees, court costs, expenses and other damages.

They sue Lab Corp for punitive damages because they say the misreading of four pap smears shows willful, wanton, intentional and reckless misconduct.

The McClungs request a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Duke Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 06-C-106

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