Six figure Compensation for Failed Cervical Screening Resulting in Cancer

Author:
Julie Dudson
Partner, Medical Negligence Solicitor
Date:
28/04/2021

Smear test mistakes meant our client developed cervical cancer and couldn’t have another baby

Ms G went to her GP for routine cervical screenings in 2009 and 2012, which were screened at the County Hospital in Hereford.

Both were reported as normal, but at Ms G’s next smear test in February 2016, the nurse noted that her cervix looked very red and inflamed.

The smear test results noted abnormal changes in the cells that line the cervix, so she was asked to attend a colposcopy at the County Hospital in March 2016, where she also had a biopsy.

Over the next few weeks, Ms G suffered episodes of heavy bleeding, which turned out to be a cervical tear that needed hospital treatment.

While in hospital, Ms G was informed of the results of her biopsy, and it was confirmed she had cervical cancer. Ms G was referred to the Macmillan Centre at Cheltenham.

After discussion with a cancer specialist, Ms G agreed to have a radical modified hysterectomy, which was performed in May 2016. Investigations were undertaken to see if the cancer had spread, and thankfully the results confirmed this was not the case.

Ms G was told by the cancer specialist that her previous smear tests would be investigated, and in February 2017, she was informed that the 2009 and 2012 smears had not been reported correctly.

The 2009 smear had shown moderate changes and the 2012 smear shown severe changes. It was suggested that if these had been correctly reported at the time, then Ms G would have been referred for a colposcopy and treated for pre-cancerous cells. The cervical cancer could then have been prevented and Ms G would not have needed the radical hysterectomy.

The mistakes made with her smear tests had a huge impact on Ms G’s life. The hysterectomy meant she could not have any more children, and the procedure left her unwell on several occasions and needing lots of time off work. Ms G’s mental health was also affected by her experience and she had to undergo counselling.

Ms G now sees the specialist at the Macmillan Cancer Centre every three months and will remain in their care for five years.

How We Helped

Ms G believed serious mistakes had been made with her treatment, as the abnormal changes on her smears had been missed on two occasions.

After looking at the details of what had happened, our Medical Negligence Solicitors believed Ms G had strong grounds to claim against Wye Valley NHS Trust, which manages the County Hospital in Hereford, and agreed to help her.

We arranged independent medical assessments from an expert cytopathologist, gynaecologist and psychiatrist, who each prepared medical reports on Ms G’s condition.

With this medical evidence, we argued that if the 2009 and 2012 smear tests had been correctly reported, Ms G would have been treated for pre-cancerous cells, which would have prevented the cancer and the radical hysterectomy, which left Ms G unable have any further children. It also brought on symptoms of early menopause.

County Hospital admitted that the smear tests had not been correctly reported, and we were able to negotiate an appropriate compensation settlement.

What was the Outcome?

Wye Valley NHS Trust agreed to pay Ms G a six figure amount in compensation.

This amount reflected:

      • The pain and suffering Ms G had gone through because of her diagnosis and treatment
      • The long-term implications of the medical negligence, such as her loss of fertility
      • Damages for loss of earnings, travel expenses, care and treatment costs

The compensation also means Ms G is able to access recommended further treatment, such as psychological support.

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