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Terminal cancer sufferer sues NHS for ‘appalling mistakes’ in her care

A 29-year-old woman has been diagnosed with terminal cancer after hospital staff failed to spot abnormalities in a routine cervical smear test.

What happened?

Fay Harryman underwent a routine cervical smear test back in April 2009, and was told that there were no abnormalities and she should have another in three years time.

Within months she began suffering from bladder problems and abnormal bleeding, and an MRI scan in November 2010 revealed a large tumour on her cervix.

Ms Harryman then underwent a series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, leaving her infertile by the age of 25.

The treatment failed to stop the spread of the disease, which has since spread to her lymph nodes, and she has been told that further treatment will only prolong her life, not cure her.

NHS errors

Evidence suggests that, had the test been correctly reported as showing abnormalities, further testing would have been recommended within four weeks.

These further tests would have, in all likelihood, confirmed cancerous cells, allowing Ms Harryman to receive immediate treatment to remove them – which could have prevented the disease from spreading.

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS trust has admitted liability for the failure to detect and report the cancerous cells. It continues, however, to dispute how the failures contributed to the disease returning, and whether or not it would have saved the 29-year-old’s life.

Her legal team have now issued court proceedings, and hope to secure a settlement quickly to help fund her ongoing treatment and cover her loss of earnings.

Speaking about her diagnosis, Ms Harryman said:

“It’s very hard not to be bitter or angry. If my smear test had been correctly
interpreted in 2009, I’d probably have a future to look to now.

“Nothing can turn back the clock, but I feel I deserve to know why it was possible
for my test to be interpreted incorrectly, and it would give me some small
peace of mind to know lessons have been learned throughout
the NHS to prevent anyone else having to go through
the same unnecessary nightmare as me.”

If anything in this article has affected you or a loved one, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email

Source: View article

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