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Case Study: Misdiagnosis Following Hysteroscopy
Sue, 71 years old, Manchester
A £19,000 settlement has been agreed between a hospital and a woman after oversight of a histology led to a late diagnosis of endometrial cancer and subsequently resulted in radiotherapy for the victim.
After complaining of vaginal bleeding, Sue underwent a hysteroscopy to remove a uterine polyp. She had previously had a number of similar polyps successfully removed by D&C.
Sue was not informed of the results of the histological examination of the polyp and as her bleeding had settled she was discharged. She was well for the next 2 years when the bleeding started again. She was referred to a different gynaecologist who, on reading her medical records, discovered that the histology report from the hysteroscopy, which had been overlooked until then, had shown abnormal changes, which should have led Sue to undergo a hysterectomy.
Sue was advised to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of uterus, tubes and ovaries) because in the interim, she had developed Stage 1C endometrial cancer. She also required a 6-week course of radiotherapy.
Acknowledgement of oversight and lasting effects
The hospital acknowledged that an oversight had occurred and Sue received a personal apology from the original gynaecologist.
Although on the balance of probabilities (i.e. more likely then not) Sue is now cured of the cancer, she suffers from chronic tiredness and a reduction in her immunity due mainly to the radiotherapy treatment which would not have been necessary had she had the surgery 2 years earlier.
Sue has a small chance of relapse in the future and as a result this would have been a suitable case in which to claim provisional damages (where a Claimant is permitted to reopen the case in the future in the event of a relapse). However Sue opted to settle her case on a "once and for all" basis and, following negotiation, her claim settled for £19,000.
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