Mother, 37, left infertile after doctors misread TWO smear tests leaving her prey to cervical cancer
Mrs Millward insisted on another smear test seven months earlier than her appointment, saving her own life according to a medical expert
15:56 GMT, 9 July 2012
A mother who developed cervical cancer and was left infertile after her smear test results were misread twice has been awarded 50,000 compensation.
Claire Millward, 37, had two smear tests where pre-cancerous cells were present. However, she wasn't called for follow-up appointments on either occasion.
Mrs Millward continued for the next four years thinking she was healthy but was horrified to be diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2009. /07/09/article-2170979-13FCFD06000005DC-119_468x527.jpg” width=”468″ height=”527″ alt=”Claire Millward, pictured with her son Jamie. She went for regular smear tests but developed cervical cancer after they were misread” class=”blkBorder” />
Claire Millward, pictured with her son Jamie. She went for regular smear tests but developed cervical cancer after they were misread
The life-saving surgery was a success, but left the mother-of-one unable to have any more children.
Northampton General Hospital has now admitted that the smear tests were not read properly and an independent medical expert said Claire’s cancer could have been prevented.
Claire, a letting agent, said: 'If they had spotted the cancer earlier I would not have lost my womb and could have more children now.
'We wanted a big family and we were actually trying for another child when the cancer came.
'Basically the negligence of some people has had a dramatic effect on my life. I want to ensure that no-one else has to go through this.'
Mrs Millward, who lives with her husband Carl, 43, and son Jamie, eight, in Northampton, had two smear tests at Northampton General Hospital in 2003 and 2005.
The first test showed borderline changes, the second should have been read as abnormal and both should have resulted in follow-up appointments.
Claire had another smear test in 2008 that again came back negative, but she felt something was wrong. She had been told by the hospital she couldn't have another until September 2009, but got one at her doctors in February.
Mrs Millward, who wanted a bigger family, was awarded 50,000 compensation after she had to have a hysterectomy
Luckily doctors caught her cervical cancer in time to save her life, but Claire had to endure an emergency radical hysterectomy, including lymph node removal, in March 2009 leaving her infertile.
She said: 'I burst into tears when I found out I had cancer.
'But the most scary thought ever is what could have happened if I had not asked for another test. I don’t know what made me push for a test so much, but I am so glad I did.
'The independent medical expert said if I had waited until September to have treatement I would have been dead as the tumours were growing.'
An independent cytopathologist who reviewed Claire’s case said if the abnormal cells had been picked up on her 2003 or 2005 scans she could have been treated with a cone biopsey and she would have kept her womb.
Claire’s solicitor Neil Clayton, from Harvey Ingram, said: 'Claire’s 2003 smear showed borderline changes and should have resulted in a colposcopy referral for a detailed investigation.
'Her 2005 smear result was abnormal, again showing glandular neoplasia, and Claire should have had an urgent colposcopy referal.
'Our independent cytopathologist said they should have done a cone biopsey to remove the abnormal, pre-cancerous, cells if the tests had been read correctly.
'If they had read the results right in first place she would not have gone on to develop the cancer and avoided the hysterectomy.'
A spokesman for Northampton General Hospital said they were truly sorry for their errors
He added: 'The lesson for hospitals is to be very careful to keep on top of results and ensure there are regular audits.'
Northampton General Hospital have now sent Claire a letter of apology and reviewed its policy.
A hospital spokesman said: 'We accept that, regrettably, those smears were incorrectly reported and that this may have contributed to a delayed diagnosis of glandular neoplasia (abnormalities of glandular cells).
'We are truly sorry for those errors. We carry out thousands of cervical smear tests annually, and we would like to reassure all our patients that this is a most exceptional case.
'We are determined to learn from it and we have reviewed our procedures to ensure there is no recurrence of the failings experienced by Mrs Millward.'