Case Study: Cervical Cancer

Compensation: £175,000

Caroline, 51 years old, Rochdale

This case study outlines how JMW helped Caroline to secure £175,000 after she suffered negligent treatment of cervical cancer.

If you are looking for information on how JMW can help you to make a claim yourself you can go directly to our cervical cancer claims page here.

Caroline first consulted her GP with irregular periods when she was 29 years old. Over the following 10 years she had 3 cervical smears, all of which were reported as negative.

Caroline's periods became progressively heavier and more painful and her GP referred her to a consultant gynaecologist when she was 39 years old. A cervical smear taken at this time showed mild squamous dyskaryosis with inflammatory and wart virus changes (abnormal).

Bulky uterus with cervicitis

The next year Caroline was examined and found to have a bulky uterus with cervicitis. A smear taken at this time was reported as negative (normal). Shortly afterwards she had a dilatation and curettage (D&C). The following year Caroline was referred back with persistent menorrhagia.

Caroline managed to cope with the heavy periods for four years when she started to get bleeding after intercourse. She consulted her GP and a further smear was taken. This was inadequate so a repeat smear was and reported as normal. This smear was also re-examined for the purpose of the claim and found to contain a very few squamous cells showed borderline nuclear changes similar to the previous smear.

Six years later, Caroline presented to her GP with a history of continuous vaginal bleeding for the previous 6 weeks. A high vaginal swab was taken, which grew group B haemolytic streptococcus. Appropriate antibiotics were prescribed. A smear was taken shortly afterwards, which was reported as showing no dyskaryotic cells.

This smear has also been re-examined and found to contain numerous severely dyskaryotic cells in a heavily blood-stained sample. These changes are suggestive of CIN3 but invasive squamous carcinoma cannot be excluded.

Growing concerns

Caroline's symptoms continued and she became more and more concerned. She was seen by the gynaecologist, who noted a bulky uterus but made no mention of the cervix. An ultrasound scan confirmed a fibroid uterus. Caroline underwent a procedure for hysteroscopy, endometrial biopsy and insertion of a Mirena coil. The histology report on the biopsy showed CIN3 and possible invasive cancer. A biopsy undertaken shortly afterwards confirmed cancer of the cervix.

Caroline underwent the treatment as planned, but 18 months later an MRI scan showed a small recurrence in the left pelvic area. Within a year her condition was considered to be terminal. Caroline passed away less than 12 months later.

Hospital negligence

JMW Solicitors alleged that the Hospital was negligent in failing to arrange via the GP appropriate follow-up smears after the first abnormal smear. It is also alleged that the hospital failed to correctly report the second grossly abnormal smear, negligently reporting it as normal. With prompt referral Caroline would, on the balance of probabilities, have received effective treatment for her cervical cancer.


The case was settled for £175,000, of which £5,000 was awarded to the Caroline’s husband for the loss of the companionship, love and support of his partner.

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