Woman secures

  • Posted

Posted 17/03/2010

A woman has secured £1 million in clinical negligence compensation after she was left with permanent health problems because medics did not spot her cervical cancer.

Samantha Burn, 31, had a smear test in 2001 and was asked back soon afterwards when it proved inconclusive, the Rutland and Stamford Mercury attests.

However, she was not called back again and thought nothing of it until she began to bleed heavily during her pregnancy from April 2003 onwards.

When the baby was born, Ms Burn had still not been given a satisfactory diagnosis and it was not until she examined herself and discovered a tumour in March 2004 that doctors realised she had cervical cancer.

It was too late to save her fertility and Ms Burn now also has a string of health problems including trouble with her hips, bowel and bladder.

She took legal action when it was discovered that she probably could have avoided these conditions if medical staff had spotted the problems with her cervix that should have shown up on the two smear tests.

Now, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has awarded her £1 million in compensation and has apologised for the suffering she has been caused.

Ms Burn said she hopes the publicity will prevent other women from having to go through the same thing.

Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, who heads the Medical Injury team at Ashtons Legal, commented: “This very large award reflects the severity and duration of Ms Burn’s pain and suffering. It is hard to see how patients can better protect themselves in these tragic situations as they are very much dependent on being accurately informed of test results.

“Although costly, it might be better if patients were informed of all test results rather than, as can happen, only the ones that require action. This would ensure that at least all results were looked at for reporting to patients before being filed or lost in the system.

“If national guidelines were in place with time limits for results being given to patients, then patients could ring and chase. At present it is entirely in the hands of the trust that employs the laboratory technician and those responsible for reporting adverse findings – the patient is pretty much in the dark and, as here, that can have serious consequences”.

According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer has the fifth highest death rate in the world.


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