Family of Cancer Victim Awarded $11.8 Million

A jury awarded $11.8 million to the husband and children of a fashion industry executive who died of cervical cancer (search) that had gone undetected through several years of medical exams and tests.

Vicki Malouf (search), 45, died in 2001 because her gynecologist missed abnormalities that developed into full-blown cancer and the medical laboratory that she used misread the results of two Pap smears, lawyer Judith A. Livingston argued.

Livingston said the state jury apportioned blame Monday at 55 percent for the gynecologist, Dr. Heidi Rosenberg, and 45 percent for Quest Diagnostics (search) of Teterboro, N.J., the largest medical lab in the country.

The jury awarded the money to Malouf's husband, Nicolas, a 49-year-old banker, and their sons, ages 9 and 12.

Lawyers for Rosenberg and Quest Diagnostics did not immediately return calls for comment.

"The number of times that Rosenberg and Quest Diagnostics failed Vicki Malouf was staggering," Livingston said. "If they had done just one thing correctly from May 1996 through 1998, she would be alive today. Instead, they wrote her death sentence."

In 1998, after profuse vaginal bleeding, Malouf was diagnosed with a massive cancerous tumor, Livingston said. The lawyer said a hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments were prescribed too late to save Malouf.