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Legal action settled after wrongly assessed cervical smear

A 40 year old mother has died two months after her medical negligence claim settled

Smear test results were read wrongly

16 May 2014

Compensation of £200,000 has been awarded to a woman who died from cervical cancer after her cervical smear test was mis-read.

The 40 year old mother, known only as Carole, died only months after receiving her damages.

She had undergone routine cervical smear tests at her GP Surgery, including one performed on 6 June 2006, which she was told was entirely normal.

In January 2009, Carole began experiencing some cervical discomfort and so attended her GP Surgery where a smear test was taken.  This showed that she had an invasive large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, or cervical cancer.

When a review of her June 2006 smear test was carried out it showed that this had been incorrectly reported as being normal and, in fact, had shown the early stages of cervical cancer.

Carole underwent a hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy in an attempt to eradicate the cancer. 

It seemed that the extensive, and physically and mentally draining, treatment had worked and she was told the cancer was in remission in September 2009.

In June 2012, Carole was told that her cancer had in fact spread to her lungs.  Scans revealed that it was inoperable and she underwent palliative chemotherapy to try and extend her life.

Carole’s main hope was to settle the claim before her death and secure compensation that would allow her 17 year old daughter, Amy, to support herself through university.  Amy had no other close family members, her father having died several years before.

The solicitors acting for the Royal Surrey Hospital never admitted liability but they did agree to settle the claim in the sum of £200,000, a couple of months before Carole died.

Medical negligence solicitor Kirsten Wall from Leigh Day, who represented Carole, said: 

“It is a tragedy that the results from a routine check-up that could well have saved the life of my client and spared her daughter the loss of her mother was misinterpreted.

“My client’s only satisfaction was that she was able to leave her daughter in a reasonably secure position as she started on her university career.”

If you would like to speak to Kirsten, or a member of the medical negligence team, please contact us on 020 7650 1200, or fill in our enquiry form and someone from the team will get back to you shortly.

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