Woman Supported By Medical Negligence Lawyers Reveals Determination To Start Family Despite Being Left With Fertility Issues
A young woman diagnosed with cervical cancer after her first smear test was incorrectly reported as normal is calling for lessons to be learned.
The 34-year-old experienced a three-and-a-half-year treatment delay after the result of her screening test in August 2014 was wrongly classed as negative. The woman, of Old Swan, Liverpool, was told she did not have to attend an appointment until she was routinely recalled.
However, the result should have highlighted suspected cell changes.
Liverpool woman diagnosed with cervical cancer
After she was called for a follow up routine smear in March 2018 the result showed severe cell changes. She was referred for further tests and diagnosed with cervical cancer the following month.
The woman, who does not want to be named, underwent surgery to remove cancerous tissue and a further procedure to remove part of her cervix.
Medical negligence lawyers investigate cancer diagnosis
Following her ordeal, the woman instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate.
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted a breach of duty on behalf of the former Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, which at the time was responsible for analysing her test result.
The Trust admitted that if the woman’s result had been accurately reported she would have undergone further investigation and appropriate treatment by October 2014. On the balance of probabilities, treatment would have meant she would not have developed cancer, the Trust added.
As part of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week the woman, who has been left with fertility issues, has spoken for the first time about her battle to overcome the disease and her determination to start a family with her partner.
Legal team secure payment to fund woman's surrogacy
It comes after her legal team at Irwin Mitchell secured an interim payment from Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The woman is using the funds to undergo surrogacy in the USA.
It follows a landmark Supreme Court judgment in 2020 in a case brought by Irwin Mitchell which ruled a woman, who can only be identified XX, who was left infertile as a consequence of delays in diagnosing cervical cancer was entitled to costs to fund surrogacy in the USA.
Expert Opinion“Our client’s case is sadly another reminder of the consequences women can be left to face through the incorrect recording of smear tests. The last few years and coming to terms with her diagnosis and what it means for her long term has been incredibly upsetting for her.
“While we can’t make up for what’s happened we’re pleased that we’ve been able to establish the answers that she and her partner deserved.
“She hopes that by sharing her story she can improve patient safety for other woman and also the highlight the importance of taking part in the cervical cancer screening programme.
“We’re continuing to support our client as she now attempts to look to the future and hopefully realise her dream of having the family she has always wanted.” Sharon Williams - Senior Associate Solicitor
Medical negligence: Our client's story
The woman, who is cured of her cervical cancer but has been left unable to conceive, has recently had her eggs harvested and successfully had three embryos created which are currently in quarantine before she is able to send them to a USA Clinic for implantation when she finds a surrogate match.
She said: “When I was told my first smear was clear I didn’t think anything more and put my faith in what I was told.
“When suspicions were raised on my second test I started to worry. Over the next few weeks it was difficult to not fear the worst but nothing still prepares you for the news you have cancer.
“It was such an emotional time following my diagnosis. I was trying to contend with my diagnosis and treatment while also trying to think about what it may mean for the future.
“My treatment was hard both mentally and physically. I was almost relying on my partner and family for everything.
“Family is so important for me and my partner. I’ve always wanted to have at least two, may be three children and to be told my chances of being able to conceive would be much reduced was particularly hard to accept .
“We’ve spent hour upon hour researching and looking into various options for starting a family. Starting the surrogacy process has been a major boost for us and has given us something to focus on. Although we’re optimistic things are starting to go in the right direction we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves."
Woman supports cervical cancer awareness campaign
“I just hope that by speaking out I can help others and lessons are learned from what happened to me. While my original smear test was incorrectly reported the second one probably helped save my life.
“It’s vital that woman don’t feel embarrassed and make sure they attend appointments. It’s also important that women diagnosed with cervical cancer don’t feel that they have to suffer alone. Help and support is available.”
Cervical Cancer Prevention Weeks runs from 17-23 January. For more information visit the Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust website at https://www.jostrust.org.uk/
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was created in 2019 following a merger of Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Find out more about our expertise in supporting people affected by cancer and their families at our dedicated cancer claims section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.