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Doctor Failed to Diagnose Cancer Threat

Failed to diagnose cancer threat


A doctor ignored the concerns of two colleagues and failed to diagnose cancer threat based on the fact she had pre-cancerous cells on her cervix, the General Medical Council (GMC) has heard.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Nidhi Tripathi performed destructive treatment to the cervix without waiting for the results of a smear test, the GMC's Fitness to Practice Panel was told.

The patient, identified only as Mrs A, said she was 41 and wanted to have children via IVF when she first saw Dr Tripathi at the Bupa Wellesley Hospital in Southend-on-Sea in July 2004. She had been referred by her GP, who felt that a deeper colposcopy examination might be needed as her IVF consultant had noted she had a "rather unhealthy looking cervix".

Mrs A, who was in the final stages before beginning IVF, told the London-based panel: "She decided there was no need to have a colposcopy and explained it was cervical erosion. She said it can happen when women get older and it is nothing to worry about. She said: 'I can see that your IVF consultant is concerned but I have told you, darling, that there is nothing to worry about. It is not cervical cancer - it is erosion.'

A few days later, Dr Tripathi performed a punch biopsy and destructive treatment to the cervix, the panel heard. Just three weeks later, the results from Mrs A's smear test came back and recommended colposcopy.

It was alleged that Dr Tripathi did not pass this information on to the patient and even when she wrote to Mrs A's IVF consultant, she did not tell him of the concerns raised by the smear results. Instead, she wrongly said that, following treatment, Mrs A was fit for any other procedure to be performed.

Mrs A's suspicions that something was wrong were only raised when she tried to cancel an appointment for a more in-depth examination at the Southend Hospital. The nurse urged her not to.

IVF treatment failed in November 2004. In January 2005, Mrs A had a repeat smear and cervical biopsy. She told the panel: "I had high-grade pre-cancerous cells and, if they were left, there was a high possibility they would return to cancer. I felt devastated."

She had a hysterectomy at the Royal Marsden Hospital in July 2006.

Dr Tripathi is accused of unacceptable, inappropriate and inadequate behaviour that was professionally sub-standard and not in the best interests of her patient. She denies that her fitness to practice was impaired by her conduct or by a deficient professional performance.

If you have suffered due to a delayed cervical cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosed cervical cancer, our medical negligence lawyers could help you claim compensation. Call 0808 163 4557 for a free initial consultation or see our Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims page for more details.