Woman told she can’t have children after being given the wrong smear test result

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The unidentified woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer three and a half years after her first smear test reported an incorrect negative result – she is not going to use the payment she received from the hospital trust to undergo surrogacy in the US

A woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer three and a half years after a smear test recorded an incorrect negative result
A woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer three and a half years after a smear test recorded an incorrect negative result

A woman is unable to have children after being incorrectly told her first smear test result was clear, it has been reported.

The unidentified woman, 34, was told she had cervical cancer three and a half years after doctors failed to find abnormalities on her smear test.

The woman, from Liverpool, cannot conceive after undergoing treatment to have cancerous tissues and part of her cervix removed, Liverpool ECHO reports.

She has now received an interim payment from Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust through her solicitors Irwin Mitchell.

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 analyzing the woman’s test result.

The woman has received a payment from the hospital trust after they admitted a breach of duty
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Getty Images/Universal ImagesGr)

The hospital trust admitted that if her smear test result had been accurately reported then she would have had more tests and the right treatment by October 2014.

On the balance of probabilities, treatment would have meant she would not have developed cancer, the Trust added.

The woman has since shared her story to try and help others.

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.

The woman is unable to have children and is trying to undergo surrogacy in the US
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Getty Images/Collection Mix: Subjects RF)

“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, maybe three children and to be told my chances of being able to conceive would be much reduced was particularly hard to accept.”

In August 2014, the woman received her first smear test result, which was incorrectly classified as negative.

She was then told she didn’t have to attend an appointment until she was routinely recalled.

It was later discovered that her test result should have highlighted suspect cell changes.

When she had a follow up routine smear test in March 2018, the results showed severe cell changes.

After going for further tests she was diagnosed with cervical cancer the following month.

The woman, who is now cancer-free but has been left unable to conceive, is now using the funds that she got to undergo surrogacy in the US.

She said: “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.

“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 women 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.”

Sharon Williams, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the woman, said: “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 women and also 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 realize her dream of having the family she has always wanted.”

The Mirror understands that following changes to the way the service is commissioned, Liverpool University Hospitals stopped providing cervical screening services in 2019.

A spokesperson for Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We sincerely apologize for the failings in the reporting of the patient’s cervical screening.

“We fell below the highest standards of care we strive to achieve for our patients and the commitment to keep our patients safe. All processes were reviewed at the time to ensure lessons were learned.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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