Husband Asks Medical Negligence Lawyers To Investigate And Secure Answers
A mum-of-three died of cervical cancer after a smear test, which showed severe cells changes, was classed as normal.
Kerry Pugh, from Shrewsbury, started to experience symptoms including bleeding during sex in around 2017. She underwent checks at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and no definitive cause for the bleeding was determined.
In 2018 Kerry started to experience irregular bleeding. Kerry then attended a routine cervical cancer screening appointment in June 2018, the result of which she was told was normal.
Months later, Kerry started experiencing a worsening of her symptoms, including irregular bleeding, eventually leading to pain in her coccyx.
Shropshire mum Kerry diagnosed with cancer
Following tests, she was diagnosed with stage four cancer. An MRI scan reported a large invasive tumour measuring 8 cm x 5cm x 5cm.
Kerry was told that surgery was not an option due to the size of the mass. She underwent surgery to have a stoma fitted, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. However, she died aged 48 in June 2022. Her cause of death was recorded as cervical cancer.
Following her death, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, which analysed the 2018 test carried out an audit of the original screening results. It found that despite originally being reported as normal, the sample actually showed severe cell changes.
Kerry's husband asks medical negligence lawyers to investigate wife's care
Kerry’s husband, Stephen Pugh, has now instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done to diagnosis her cancer sooner.
Stephen, aged 45, has spoken for the first time about the impact Kerry’s cancer and death has had on their family.
He has joined his legal team at Irwin Mitchell in supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and raising awareness of the signs of the disease.
Eleanor Giblin is the expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Stephen.
Expert Opinion“The last 19 months have been incredibly difficult for Stephen and the rest of Kerry’s family as they’ve attempted to try and come to terms with her death and the circumstances surrounding it.
“Understandably Stephen has a number of concerns regarding whether more could have been to diagnose Kerry’s cancer sooner, especially in light of the audit which highlighted severe cell changes rather than Kerry’s result being negative as initially recorded. We’re investigating this further with the assistance of independent medical experts.
“Through our work we sadly see the devastating impact cancer have. While nothing can make up for what’s happened, we’re determined to at least provide Stephen and Kerry’s children with the answers they deserve.
“In the meantime, Stephen hopes that by sharing his family’s story they can help others be aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer.
“Despite concerns about Kerry’s tests results, it’s vital that people continue to attend screening appointments as early detection and treatment is key to beating cancer.” Eleanor Giblin
Cervical cancer: Kerry Pugh's story
Kerry, a retail assistant, had attended screening appointments over a number of years. She had previously undergone procedures to remove cells in her cervix. It had been determined previously that Kerry had high risk HPV – a virus which can be linked to cancer.
Kerry’s smear in June 2018 was reported as negative. That November she visited a GP concerned about bleeding and was referred for a biopsy which was reported as being clear.
In November 2019 after several further GP appointments, Kerry was referred back to hospital again due to an increasing amount of abnormal bleeding. Following a biopsy, she was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
She underwent chemoradiotherapy - chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time - and brachytherapy - where radiation is administered directly next to the tumour.
However, over time the cancer continued to spread. She was referred to a specialist hospital to explore further treatment, but doctors said there was nothing they could do.
Kerry died in June 2022.
She also leaves behind children Morgan, aged 24, 14-year-old Lily, and Freddie, aged 11.
Stephen pays tribute to beautiful and caring wife as he supports Cervical Cancer Prevention Week
Stephen, a network support engineer, said: “I can’t begin to describe the distress and exhaustion that Kerry went through.
“She was a beautiful and caring person and a great mum. To see her health deteriorate as the cancer took hold of her was heartbreaking.
“Although she was suffering extreme pain because of her illness, Kerry always tried to stay positive right to the end, especially for the children. She was more concerned about their wellbeing than her own.
“Kerry was absolutely everything to me and we all miss her every day. Our family had the rest of our lives to spend together but it’s difficult not to think this has been snatched away from us.
“That Kerry will never get to see her children grow up and be there to celebrate life’s milestones is the hardest thing to accept. There are so many unanswered questions about Kerry’s diagnosis and treatment; in particular, could Kerry’s cancer have been picked up sooner? Not knowing just adds to the hurt and pain we endure daily. Kerry wanted these answers so that the kids would know how hard she fought to still be here.
“I’d do anything to have Kerry back but I know that’s not possible. I just hope that by speaking out I can help others. Even if I can help one person than at least some good may have come from this terrible situation.”
More information about cervical cancer available
Cervical Cancer Prevention Weeks runs from 22-28 January. For more information visit the website of the charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting women and families affected by cervical cancer at our dedicated cervical cancer claims section. Alternatively, to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.