Our client, now a 44 year old woman, underwent what was intended to be a total abdominal hysterectomy (which would include the complete removal of the cervix) in December 2000.
Despite a sub-total abdominal hysterectomy having been performed in error, which resulted in part of our client’s cervix being left in situ, neither the surgeon nor the histopathologist realised the error or reported it to our client.
As a consequence, our client was advised that she no longer required regular cervical smear checks, with the result that, after some symptoms of pain and bleeding she was diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in October 2008 which necessitated a radical surgical procedure as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Such treatment resulted in long term complications within our client’s relationship, and she also suffered a psychological injury.
The surgeon’s representatives initially tried to deny any wrong doing and blamed the histopathologist for the failure to record the incomplete cervix post operatively. However, further investigations identified that the histopathologist had the same insurer and a resolution to the claim was achieved shortly thereafter, though without any formal admissions being made.
Expert evidence indicated that there remained a small risk of recurrence in the future, but our client decided that she would rather settle the claim on a full and final basis. Settlement was reached in the sum of £115,000, which represents a very good outcome from the claim.
Alex Tengroth, who had conduct of the case, commented:
“This was a very unfortunate case where the development of cervical cancer could have been avoided if appropriate skill had been employed during the operation in December 2000, if appropriate skill had been demonstrated in the reporting of the histopathology specimens, or even if advice had been given to my client to continue to have regular cervical smear tests.
Thankfully, although my client remains under close follow-up, she has been free from cancer for almost 3 years now, and we all wish her the very best for the future.”