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$4 Million Settlement In Lawsuit Over Pap Smear

Relatives Of A Woman Who Died of Cervical Cancer Have Reached A $4 Million Settlement With A Laboratory They Accused of Failing To Detect Signs of The Disease On A Pap Smear

Nov 11, 2002 | CNN

Dr. Lynne Toombs-Datema, 37, died of cancer in 2000, six years after her Pap smear was sent to Metropolitan Reference Laboratory in St. Louis.

The Pap smear was screened by a cytotechnologist, who found it to be normal, according to Missouri Lawyers Weekly, a legal journal that reported the settlement this week.

In their malpractice lawsuit, Toombs-Datema's family claimed the presence of abnormal cells should have been detected, a step that could have helped her chances of survival.

Experts for the defendants claimed the number of abnormal cells was very low and that their presentation was unique. They argued the failure to identify their presence was not negligence.

The lab is no longer in business. As part of the settlement agreement, the name of the lab's insurance company was not identified.

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