Cervical cancer screening errors lead to hysterectomy - £55,000

Sarah, 32

Sarah had to undergo a hysterectomy and has an increased risk of suffering future episodes of cancer after clear signs that she had cervical cancer were missed on a smear test. Her case was taken on by JMW and we held the hospital responsible to account and secured £55,000 in compensation for her suffering.

Tests

Sarah had always taken care to attend her routine smear tests and all the results had come back normal. When she received her invitation to attend her next routine smear test she attended as usual and the results came back as normal. However what Sarah was not told was that the test had actually not been sufficient to determine if there were abnormal cells present or not and she should have been advised to have a repeat test. 

For the next few years Sarah suffered bleeding after sex and attended her GP several times about this. Initially the GP examined Sarah and noted a suspicious area and took some swabs. However Sarah was never given any results or follow-up from this and assumed that this meant everything must be OK. 

Further warning signs

Unfortunately Sarah’s abnormal bleeding following intercourse continued and she continued to visit her GP about this. The GPs solution was to change the type of contraceptive Sarah was taking several times but this made no difference and the bleeding continued.

After Sarah’s next routine smear test she was again told the results were normal. This is despite the fact that there were severe abnormalities present which the hospital trust later acknowledged after JMW’s involvement. Sarah should have been called back for further investigations however she falsely believed that there was nothing serious to be concerned about.

Pregnancy

Sarah’s bleeding continued and when she met a new partner she became more concerned about this. Sarah and her partner wanted to try for a baby however Sarah was worried about becoming pregnant and carrying a child if the bleeding continued. Sarah went back to her GP who examined her and noticed her cervix was bleeding. Sarah was referred to hospital for further investigations where the abnormal cells were removed but no biopsy to investigate the severity of her condition was carried out.

Sarah’s abnormal bleeding stopped and she went on to have a baby. However after the baby was born Sarah felt that things were not right and felt as though her cervix had prolapsed. This resolved within a few weeks but then the abnormal bleeding returned.

Finally a diagnosis

Sarah went back to see a different GP who referred her back to hospital. This time the investigations done were more thorough and Sarah was given the devastating news just a few days later that she had invasive cervical cancer. 

Sarah was given treatment options including a full hysterectomy, which offered the best chance of completely eradicating the cancer and this is what she decided to have done. This was a major operation and caused a lot of distress and suffering and also meant that she could have no further children as she had hoped. 

After the operation Sarah suffered with physical after-effects for some time and was told that she is at increased risk of developing cancer again in the future due to the missed opportunities to treat her before her condition became so advanced.

Successful medical negligence claim

Sarah was put in touch with JMW’s specialist medical negligence team who proved that the appalling errors in misinterpreting her smear test allowed her condition to become far more advanced. Nothing could compensate Sarah for losing her chance to have more children and for the suffering she endured but she received an official apology from the hospital trust and £50,000 in compensation to help her to cope. 




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