Medical Negligence Lawyers Secure Funds To Help Pay For Surrogacy
A young woman left unable to have children naturally following treatment for cervical cancer has spoken of her determination to start a family after lawyers secured a settlement to fund surrogacy.
Hannah Baker, of Farnham, Surrey, was diagnosed with the disease aged 24 in March 2016. Since the previous June she had attended a number of appointments and undergone surgical procedures at Frimley Park Hospital for abdominal pain and bleeding – symptoms she had experienced for more than a year.
Despite requests for a smear test, Hannah had not undergone a test because she was under 25 – the age when automatically registered on the NHS cervical cancer screening programme.
Medical negligence lawyers investigate cervical cancer diagnosis
Hannah, who was working as a nanny at the time, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care and whether her cancer could have been diagnosed sooner.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Frimley Park Hospital, carried out an internal investigation. It recommended that any woman, irrespective of age, who is undergoing cervical cautery, should have a biopsy of the cervix before undergoing treatment.
Hospital Trust agrees settlement to fund surrogacy
Following legal submissions the Trust has now agreed an undisclosed six-figure settlement but denied liability.
Hannah, underwent surgery to safeguard her ovaries for future fertility treatment before having chemoradiotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy.
However, the treatment left her unable to conceive. The settlement will fund surrogacy as Hannah, now aged 30, and her partner Joe Allaway, aged 29, look to start a family. The couple are being advised on the surrogacy process by Irwin Mitchell’s family law team.
Hannah Baker and legal team support Cervical Cancer Prevention Week
Hannah has now joined her legal team at Irwin Mitchell in supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and the importance of women having smear tests. The law firm has also signed up to the Time To Test campaign by Jo’s Trust, to encourage staff to attend crucial screening appointments
Expert Opinion“While Hannah has successfully battled cancer the effects of the disease will continue to live with her for the rest of her life. Tragically Hannah’s only hope of becoming a mum is by surrogacy.
“While nothing can make up for what she’s been through, we’re pleased that we’ve been able to resolve this matter which has consumed more than five years of Hannah’s life. We’ll continue to support her as she now attempts to look to the future and hopefully realise her dream of having the family she has always wanted.
“Hannah has shown great bravery in sharing her story and her efforts have created changes in the Trust’s policy with the aim of preventing other women going through similar situations. We join her in supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and raising awareness of the importance of attending screening appointments.” Chloe Morgan - Solicitor
Cervical cancer: Hannah Baker's story
Hannah was referred to Frimley Park Hospital for an ultrasound which was carried out in July 2015. That August she visited the hospital’s A&E department with heavy bleeding as well as lower back and lower abdominal pain.
On 2 November, 2015, Hannah underwent a procedure designed to alleviate her bleeding and pain. Over the coming months Hannah continued to experience symptoms.
She attended A&E at Frimley Park in February 2016. Further examinations confirmed Hannah was pregnant. A scan in mid-March found Hannah had miscarried. A biopsy was taken at the end of March which confirmed she had cervical cancer.
Hannah underwent surgery to safeguard her ovaries and started treatment for cancer that June.
She has since had eggs harvested and frozen ahead of looking at surrogacy.
Farnham woman recalls battle to overcome cancer
Hannah said: “For a number of months, my life seemed just to be medical appointments. I knew something wasn’t quite right but it still came as huge shock when I was told I had cancer.
“At the same time as trying to comprehend I had cancer I was trying to come to terms with the grief of losing my baby and that if I beat the disease I’d struggle to be able to conceive and that I needed to save my ovaries.
“When I look back I still feel a lot of anger and frustration about what happened and everything I’ve been through. I’m very fortunate that I’ve had the support of my family and Joe and I’m proud of how far I’ve come considering what I’ve had to deal with.
“Having children is something I’ve wanted ever since I can remember. The thought of one day having a family was a major driver for me in getting through the cancer treatment.
“I spend a lot of time with close friends and their children. I love being around them but it’s difficult to take when a friend announces their pregnancy. I’m delighted for them but it also highlights the uncertainty of mine and Joe’s situation.
“Because of what I’ve been through I’m keen to try and raise awareness of cervical cancer to ensure other women don’t have to share my experiences. I was told I was too young for a smear test but I believe they’re so important. I would urge women to trust their body and to keep pushing their treating team and ask questions if they feel they need to or seek a second opinion.”
Find out more about our expertise in supporting people following a cancer diagnosis at our dedicated cancer claims section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Weeks runs from 17-23 January. For more information visit the Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust website at jostrust.org.uk