On April 16 of this year, Darian Wisekal’s survivors were awarded $15.8 million in damages in a lawsuit against the Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp). The family alleged that the company acted negligently in failing to detect cancerous cells from Wisekal’s Pap smear test, delaying crucial treatment and eventually leading to her death.
Consider the details of Ms. Wisekal’s case:
- Wisekal, a wife and mother of two, first visited a doctor in 2008 with complaints of fatigue and pain.
- Her doctor checked for cancerous cells using a Pap smear test, which came back negative.
- The test was performed once more in 2010, again returning negative results.
- LabCorp, a testing company based in south Florida, analyzed both sets of results.
Shortly after the second Pap smear, Wisekal’s doctor found a large cervical mass. Despite treatment, she passed away in 2011 at the age of 37, one year after her diagnosis. Wisekal’s family sued the testing company for wrongful death, alleging that the failure to diagnose the cancer in a timely manner was due to the laboratory’s negligence.
A federal jury determined that LabCorp was 75 percent responsible, and ordered the company to pay $15.8 million of the original $21 million demand. Although LabCorp has announced its intention to appeal, the verdict is a victory for Wisekal’s family, who believe her death could have been prevented if her cancer had been diagnosed more quickly. The ruling also offers hope to other families who lose loved ones as a result of similar diagnostic errors.
In many cases, medical misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition falls into the category of malpractice. If you or someone you know has been a victim of medical negligence in Bergen County or elsewhere in New Jersey, consult a personal injury attorney to review your legal options.