Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Alleged Negligent Treatment of a Patient Who Died from Cervical Cancer

In Wilkerson v. County of Cook, 379 Ill. App. 3d 838, 884 N.E.2d 808, 318 Ill. Dec. 840 (2008), the administrator of the estate of a patient who died from cervical cancer brought a medical malpractice action against a county hospital and two of its employees, a cytotechnician and a pathologist, alleging that defendants were negligent in the treatment of the patient following an abnormal Pap smear. The circuit court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to the Tort Immunity Act; the appellate court affirmed. According to the plaintiff in Wilkerson, the failure to conduct a follow-up Pap smear, and potentially a cervical biopsy, constituted "negligent treatment" from which liability may arise under the Tort Immunity Act. Plaintiff argued that defendants' negligence related to their treatment rather than the diagnosis of the patient. the appellate court disagreed, finding that the alleged negligence in the case was not based on the treatment the patient received, but on the treatment that she should have received had defendants correctly examined and diagnosed all of her medical conditions. Wilkerson, 379 Ill. App. 3d at 847.