A substantial six figure sum has been secured for a Worcestershire woman left with debilitating injuries after a series of routine smear tests were misreported leading to avoidable cancer treatment.
Ms C, now 45 years old, attended routine smear tests at her local GP practice in 2003 and 2007. The results, tested in laboratories owned by two separate NHS Trusts, came back as normal but on later examination it was discovered that both should have at least identified pre-cancerous cell changes.
We claimed that had the 2003 test been correctly reported, an urgent colposcopy procedure to investigate further would have been carried out and a non-invasive biopsy could have taken place to remove the abnormal cells.
Further investigations also revealed that had the 2007 smear test been correctly reported, although at this stage a hysterectomy would have been required, the cancer treatment which followed when cervical cancer was diagnosed in 2008 could have been avoided.
Linder Myers’ position was accepted by the two NHS Trusts involved.
A mother of three she said: “I knew something was wrong when I started suffering with bloating, headaches and post coital bleeding but as my smear tests had come back as normal, it wasn’t considered as too serious and I was simply given antibiotics to treat another condition. A further two routine tests were returned as normal but I experienced heavy bleeding in 2008 while I was at the gym and I was subsequently diagnosed with cervical cancer.
“Aged 40 at the time, I was relieved that at least I had finally been correctly diagnosed. My mother died from cancer in her early 40’s and you just know when there’s something wrong with your body. What followed has changed my life forever, I have been left with a number of physical complications not least chronic fatigue and constant severe pain which means I simply can’t do normal day to day things and the impact on my family has been devastating.”
Daily chemotherapy and weekly external radiotherapy took place over several weeks during the Summer of 2008 followed by radical internal radiotherapy which she endured in a 23 hour single session. She suffered extreme pain during the radiotherapy in particular and suffered blood poisoning as a result of the treatment and almost died requiring a blood transfusion.
She is now left with several long-term debilitating conditions as a direct result of the avoidable cancer treatment which include chronic fatigue, constant and severe lower back pain and significant damage to several organs and tissue.
Commenting on her case Tim Dennis, associate at Linder Myers Solicitors in Manchester, said: “This was a very sad case, my client was a very active woman who ran daily prior to being diagnosed with cancer. She had plans for expanding her business and a normal future with her husband and three children which has all been taken away from her due to not one, but two misreported smear tests.
“Smear tests are a routine part of every woman’s regular health checks and patients should be safe in the knowledge that their tests will be correctly reported as early as possible to avoid cancer developing. My client not only consequently developed cancer, which I believe was entirely avoidable, but rather than having a simple procedure in a single day and making a full recovery, had to go through extremely unpleasant treatment over several weeks which has left her with severe damage to tissue and a number of organs resulting in a significant decrease in the quality of her life. The settlement by no way buys her life back but I am pleased to have secured a sum that should help make her future more tolerable.”
Both Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust were involved in the action.
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