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Written by Fran Rothwell

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence lawyers have obtained a liability (fault) judgment and an interim payment for a woman in her thirties who suffered severe injury as a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer.

Biopsy revealed invasive cancer but was incorrectly reported

Our client had a routine smear test. The result of the test showed ‘high grade dyskaryosis’. This meant that she had pre- cancerous changes to the cells on her cervix. Dyskaryosis usually does not lead to cancer if properly treated but is unlikely to resolve without treatment.

She had a LLETZ biopsy to remove the abnormal cervical tissue. The biopsy result showed invasive squamous carcinoma (invasive cancer cells) which should have led to urgent surgical treatment but was incorrectly reported as CIN2 and CIN3 (pre-cancerous cells). A follow up cervical smear six months later was also incorrectly reported as showing borderline changes. Arrangements were made for her to be reviewed in the colposcopy clinic six months later. Whilst waiting for the review our client experienced severe pain, attending her GP and the hospital’s A&E department on several occasions.

Having received no help for the pain she was experiencing, she decided to pay for a private GP, who immediately referred her to a private gynaecological consultant who arranged for her to undergo a transvaginal scan, a CT scan and an MRI scan which showed a large mass invading the parametrium (the surrounding connective tissue). She had a cystoscopy and cervical biopsy and a PET-CT scan and was referred to an oncologist (cancer specialist). She was diagnosed with an ulcerated cervical tumour which extended into the pelvic sidewall. She had stage 3B cervical cancer.

Delays in diagnosis led to more radical treatment and long-term injury

If our client’s cancer had been correctly diagnosed at the time of her biopsy, she would have received surgical treatment. With correct treatment she would not have needed chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but the delay in diagnosis had led to a progression of the cancer and she now needed more radical chemo-radiotherapy.

She underwent egg collection, to preserve her ability to have children, and was then treated with chemo-radiotherapy. This left her with severe and debilitating bowel dysfunction, bladder problems, pain, nausea, premature menopause and a psychological injury. She has an increased risk of recurrence of the cancer. Every aspect of her life has been affected, including her ability to work.

Liability (fault) admitted and interim payment

We served a letter of claim on the defendant hospital on behalf of our client. When they failed to respond we issued and served court proceedings. The hospital admitted that they had been negligent and that, with correct treatment, our client would have avoided chemo-radiotherapy.

We obtained judgment for our client and an interim payment for our client to ease her financial hardship and meet her urgent needs. We are now working with our experts and our client to assess the full impact of our client’s condition, prognosis and the cost of meeting her needs, in preparation for settlement of her claim.

If you have suffered serious injury as a result of negligent medical treatment and would like to find out more about making a claim, contact us by email at