Error Hospital Pays Woman £500,000

Woman Left Infertile Following Cancer Misdiagnosis


An NHS trust has paid a woman £500,000 after one of its hospitals left her infertile by misdiagnosing two cervical smear tests.

Samantha Burn, 31, from Bourne, Lincolnshire, had the smear tests in 2001 when she was 23 years old. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer a year after she had problems during pregnancy - more than two years after the smears.

Her baby was born healthy but Mrs Burns' cancer treatment has caused her to be infertile, according to her solicitor.

She has been paid £500,000 by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Trust, which said it has changed its systems to prevent future mistakes.

The hospital said it had found nothing abnormal in Mrs Burn's smear tests in October and November 2001. She became pregnant in April 2003 but experienced pain and passed blood clots repeatedly throughout the pregnancy. Her daughter was born in December 2003 but Mrs Burn's problems did not end there.

Her doctor referred her to Peterborough Hospital in March 2004 and she was then told she had the cancer. Mrs Burn has since had radiotherapy and chemotherapy and has to have long-term hormone replacement therapy.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Georgina Sheldon from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “We are frequently approached by cancer patients who feel that their condition could and should have been diagnosed earlier. An early diagnosis can not only result in improved life expectancy and quality of life but in some cases, surgery can be less intrusive or even avoided altogether. We hope that this case will raise awareness within the medical profession of the consequences of delayed diagnosis of cancer, which forms the basis of a significant proportion of medical negligence claims."