LabCorp accused of misreading specimen

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 17, 2013

CHARLESTON - A woman is suing Laboratory Corporation of America for allegedly misreading a family member's specimen, which resulted in cervical cancer going undiagnosed for more one year.

Laboratory Corporation of America is doing business as LabCorp.

Dr. Rick L. Houdersheldt was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Dorothy Craig was a patient of Houdersheldt's and on Dec. 21, 2009, Craig, who had a past medical history of cervical cancer, presented to his office with complaints of vaginal bleeding, according to a complaint filed Sept. 17 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Sharon Woodrum, the administratrix of Craig's estate, claims Houdersheldt did a pap smear and sent the specimen to LabCorp, with a clinical history of "postmenopausal bleeding" but made no mention of Craig's history of cervical cancer.

LabCorp misread the pap smear and gave the diagnosis of "negative for intraepithelial lesion and malignancy," however, Craig continued to experience intermittent vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain, according to the suit.

Woodrum claims on July 5, 2011, upon complaints that Craig was bleeding again, was "really pale" and was sleeping more, Houdersheldt referred Craig to a gynecologist who diagnosed her with advanced cervical cancer and referred her to the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center in Huntington.

Due to the advanced stage of her cancer, Craig's treatment options were very limited and her condition continued to deteriorate until she died on Jan. 29, 2012, from metastatic cervical cancer, according to the suit.

Woodrum claims LabCorp negligently misinterpreted, evaluated and/or otherwise read the liquid-based pap smear specimen as negative for malignancy and was otherwise negligent.

Houdersheldt knew or should have known of Craig's history of cervical cancer, but failed to include that vital history with the pap smear test and was otherwise negligent, according to the suit.

Woodrum is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Matthew C. Lindsay and Richard D. Lindsay of Tabor Lindsay & Associates.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1759

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