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Mother-of-Three Awarded £75,000 After Delayed Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

17 November 2015

A mother-of-three has been awarded £75,000 after a delay in diagnosing her cervical cancer led to her suffering unnecessary pain.

Settlement Value: £75,000

Slater and Gordon SolicitorPaul Sankey is a clinical negligence solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

What happened: Slater and Gordon acted for a 41 year-old woman. From the age of 20 she underwent regular smear tests. Apart from one borderline smear test in 2001, every test she underwent was reported as normal.

In December 2008, our client attended her GP with discomfort in her vaginal area and pain during intercourse. She underwent a further smear in February 2009 which was reported as normal.

Our client continued to experience discomfort and attended her GP a further six times over the proceeding eight months. In June 2010, at a further GP appointment, her 14th cervical smear was carried out and was again reported as normal.

Despite this, our client’s symptoms did not resolve and she continued to make regular visits to her GP. In July 2011, a clinical examination was carried out revealing an irregular cervix. An urgent cancer referral was requested and our client underwent an MRI scan two weeks later. This led to a correct diagnosis of cervical cancer.

For the next four weeks our client underwent chemo-radiotherapy five times per week followed by two treatments of brachytherapy, which she found painful and intrusive. She then began hormone replacement therapy.

Fortunately, in October 2013, a further MRI scan showed no signs of recurrence and the evidence is that she has been cured. However, our client continues to suffer from the inevitable side effects of the extensive and invasive treatment she underwent. The overall prognosis for her cancer has not been affected by the failures in her care.

How Slater and Gordon helped: Slater and Gordon were instructed by the client in February 2013. After concluding that there were good prospects of success, we agreed to pursue the claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), commonly known as a no win, no fee agreement.

We obtained medical evidence from a general practitioner as well as from a consultant surgeon and gynaecological oncologist. This evidence confirmed that the cervical smear taken in February 2009 was incorrectly reported as normal. Had this failure not occurred, our client would have likely avoided the need for chemo-radiotherapy and would not be suffering from the subsequent lifelong effects.

Decision: Slater and Gordon issued proceedings in June 2014. In February 2015, the defendants admitted a breach of duty in that the cervical smear from February 2009 was incorrectly reported as normal.

The defendants also admitted that, as a consequence of their negligence, our client required more extensive treatment and suffered additional pain than an earlier diagnosis would have provided.

In May 2015 we succeeded in negotiating a settlement in the sum of £75,000.

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