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The Implications of a Flawed Smear Test

By Senior Associate, Clinical Negligence

It is well-known amongst women that the mere mention of the term ‘smear test’ can evoke mixed feelings. Whilst some fear and try their best to avoid it, others trust and wholeheartedly rely on the procedure.

Smear Test

A smear test, also referred to as a cervical screening test, can be defined as a method of detecting early changes or abnormal cells in the cervix. The procedure itself only lasts for a few minutes and is considered within the medical profession as a ‘potentially life-saving’ test and a means of preventing cervical cancer.

However, many in the legal profession believe the test can prove to be inefficient in the absence of diligence. It is often the case that the test can be negligently misreported thereby resulting in a delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer. The considerable increase in the number of negligent smear test cases each year suggests that awareness of these issues is crucial.

One client of mine was unfortunate to have been caught within the ambit of this particular category of medical negligence. She had to bear the sad consequences when a smear test performed in February 2008 was negligently reported as normal. As a result, she was not called back for a colposcopy.

Investigations conducted in 2011 however, revealed cervical cancer of 1B1 grade. Fortunately, doctors spotted her cancer in time to save her life but, the nearly three year delay in diagnosis resulted in her having to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as all the associated side effects involved with having such invasive treatments.
My client has sadly developed gastrointestinal symptoms as a result of the radiotherapy she received and she is now infertile. Her condition currently remains under review.

Had my client been diagnosed earlier, any such complications would most likely not have followed. Although a well-reputed hospital has now admitted full liability, this does not render her case any less complicated. The process of investigating quantum entails various issues that require timely consideration to assess the full extent of harm caused and the future treatment which she will require.

Nisha Sharma is a senior clinical negligence solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers help people who have suffered from delayed or wrong diagnosis of cervical cancer due to medical negligence.

For a free consultation call the Medical Negligence Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we will call you.