Delay in Detection of Cervical Cancer get-single-case

We settled a case arising out of the delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer in a young woman.

The consequences of what was a catalogue of errors were terrible for this young woman, who ended up having to have a radical hysterectomy at the age of 29. She has one young child but had been planning to expand her family. That opportunity was lost. Surrogacy was not an option. She entered the menopause at the age of 32. She has been left with bladder damage and lymphoedema. All could have been avoided.

In this case she was the victim of no less than three errors by three separate Trusts over a period of four years before the cervical cancer was diagnosed.

She regularly attended for smear tests. She was referred to a Consultant Gynaecologist following concerns on smear testing and underwent a colposcopy and biopsy in 2009. The Consultant failed to heed the advice of the Pathologist, suspicious of the findings of the biopsy and unhappy with the quality of sample, who recommended another biopsy.

He wrote to the claimant advising that the biopsy was normal. Had this Consultant carried out the further biopsy the condition would have been identified at the pre-malignant stage, and the claimant would have undergone treatment by way of diathermy loop excision of the transformation zone, with appropriate follow-up to ensure complete removal of the abnormal tissue.

Radical surgery would have been prevented and progression to invasive carcinoma would have been prevented. She continued to have symptoms, a further smear test in 2012 was misreported and a further opportunity was missed in 2013 by another Trust to carry out investigations warranted by her on going symptoms, which would have identified cervical cancer and treatment would have been commenced nine months earlier. In that situation fertility preserving surgery would have been possible.

After denials of breach of duty and causation, an admission was finally obtained and we were able to negotiate a settlement of her claim against all three Trusts for the injury and losses she had suffered.