CHARLESTON – An Arkansas woman is suing a Dunbar business alleging it misread two pap smears that showed she has cancer.

Nancy Geary filed a lawsuit against American Cytopathology Services in Kanwha Circuit Court on Feb. 25.

Geary said the company reviewed two of her pap smear slides –- in March 2006 and April 2007 -– and both times declared the reviews were negative for cancer.

But in July 2007, Geary claims she experienced abnormal vaginal bleeding and went to her doctor, who performed another pap smear.

"Her physician was shocked (Geary) had a normal pap smear only three months earlier due to the fact that she had a severely eroded cervix," the complaint says.

In August 2007, a review of the latest pap smear showed positive for invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix, the complaint says.

The other two slides, which were reviewed by the defendant company, were sent to the University of Arkansas Medical Center. Professionals there said those slides confirmed the August diagnosis.

Geary claims that by this time, she could not have a hysterectomy because the cancer was too large and too close to her pelvic wall and major blood vessels. Instead, she was referred to a radiation oncologist and treatment was immediately started.

In December 2007, the defendant company re-reviewed the slides and found that a former cytologist had indeed missed the diagnosis, the complaint says.

Geary is seeking various compensatory and punitive damages.

She is represented by West Virginia lawyer William M. Tiano and John Max Burnett Jr. of Arkansas. The case has been assigned to Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-326

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