Man sues lab for wife's cervical cancer death

Steve Gonzalez Feb. 15, 2005, 3:22am

MDL Laboratories

Christy Hummert's death from cervical cancer last October could have been prevented, contends her surviving husband Jonathan Hummert of Carlyle. He filed a wrongful death suit in St. Clair County Circuit Court Feb. 10 alleging Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (MDL) misread his wife's Pap smear in July 2001.

A year after Hummert's test results appeared normal, she retook the Pap. In July 2002, the new results were reported by WCP Pathology and WCP Labs as being abnormal--indicating an existence of atypical squamous cells.

Hummert claims a biopsy performed on Feb. 10, 2003, resulted in the diagnosis of his wife's cervical cancer.

According to the suit, MDL negligently evaluated Christy Hummert's 2001 Pap test. As a result, her physician, Eric Colton, M.D., relied on the results and did not order any additional diagnostic testing.

“MDL performed a cytological evaluation on the Pap smear and concluded that the sample was satisfactory for evaluation, that there were endocervical cells present and there was inflammation present and interpreted the sample as within normal limits,” the complaint states.

Hummert alleges MDL’s negligence delayed the diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer in his wife, which caused her to suffer significantly prior to her death on Oct. 23, 2004, and significantly contributed to cause her death.

“Hummert suffered a loss of his wife’s society and support, has incurred expense for necessary medical care, treatment and services and for her funeral expenses, and has suffered damages of a personal and pecuniary nature,” the complaint states.

Represented by John Womack of the Womack Law Firm in Herrin, Hummert is seeking a judgment in excess of $50,000 pursuant to the provisions of the Wrongful Death Act.

Hummert also seeks a judgment in excess of $50,000 under the Survival Act and at least $100,000 under the Family Expense Act for medical and funeral costs.

Discovery respondents in Hummert's suit include Malcolm N. Goodwin, Jr., M.D., Paul Pongpitoon, M.D., SSM Healthcare and Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories.

05 L 84 (20th Circuit)

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