Pryers Solicitors

Wrongly reported smear test claim settled for £235,000

In January 2005 Jill went to her GP complaining of vaginal discharge and bleeding.

She was referred to hospital for investigations. At the hospital a number of investigations were carried out in April 2005, including a cervical smear test. The cervical smear was reported as normal. In fact the test was abnormal. It showed evidence of a severe cell change.

In November 2006 Jill returned to her GP complaining of heavy periods and inter-menstrual bleeding. She was referred to the hospital and was seen later that month. Following investigations by a specialist Jill was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Jill underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy in January and February 2007 and brachytherapy in February 2007. Jill then also started to suffer anxiety and depressive illness for which she was treated with medication and counselling.

It appeared that Jill was responding well to treatment and was referred back to the care of her original hospital.

However, in January 2008 Jill returned to her GP complaining of back pain and was referred to hospital for investigations. These investigations revealed that her cancer had returned, and spread to her lungs.

Jill underwent surgery on the lung during August 2008 and surgery by way of pelvic exoneration in October 2008, following which she required a permanent colostomy and had to self-catheterise.

Jill became unable to work and required a high level of care and assistance from her family.

Jill contacted Alex McKnight, a clinical negligence specialist at Pryers to investigate what had happened and help her with her future needs. Her case was funded by a ‘no win no fee’ agreement.

Our investigations showed that the cervical smear test done by the hospital in April 2005 had been reported wrongly and that had this been reported correctly Jill would have been treated by way of hysterectomy, and, on the balance of probabilities, would have led to a complete cure. We obtained expert evidence from a Consultant in Clinical Oncology

The Defendant admitted in June 2009 that they had breached their duty of care owed to Jill but did not admit that this breach of duty had led to Jill’s subsequent pain and additional treatment.

The Defendant eventually admitted that its breach of duty had caused Jill’s ongoing problems and offered an interim payment of £30,000 and asked for information to consider the full value of the claim, which we provided.

On the basis of this information the Defendant offered £235,000 to settle the claim in October 2010, which Jill was happy to accept.

The Defendant also paid all of Jill’s legal costs so she had nothing to pay throughout the case or at the end.