Woman can’t have children after getting wrong swab result

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A woman cannot have children after being falsely told her first swab test was clear.

The 34-year-old from Old Swan was told the devastating news that she had been battling cervical cancer for three and a half years after doctors found no abnormalities on her swab.

The woman, who asked not to be named, has not presented herself after undergoing treatment that removed cancerous tissue and part of her cervix.

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

The 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 was then responsible for analyzing the woman’s test result.

The Hospital Trust acknowledged that if the result of the woman’s swab test had been reported correctly, she would have been given further evaluation and appropriate treatment by October 2014.

Taking the probabilities into account, treatment would have meant she would not have developed cancer, the Trust added.

A spokesman for Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We sincerely apologize for the errors in reporting the patient’s cervical cancer screening.

“We have failed to meet the highest standards of care we aim to achieve for our patients and the obligation to protect our patients. All processes were reviewed at the time to ensure lessons were learned.”

The woman shared her story in hopes of helping others.

She said: “When I was told my first swab was clear, I didn’t think twice and trusted what I was told.

“When suspicions arose on my second test, I began to worry. It’s been difficult not fearing the worst over the next few weeks, but nothing still prepares you for the news that you have cancer.

“It was such an emotional time after my diagnosis. I’ve been trying to come to terms with my diagnosis and treatment while also thinking about what this might mean for the future.

“My treatment was tough both mentally and physically. I relied on my partner and family for almost everything.

“Family is so important to me and my partner. I’ve always wanted to have at least two children, maybe even three, and hearing that my chances of conceiving would be greatly reduced was particularly difficult to accept.”

The woman received her first swab result in August 2014, which was incorrectly reported as negative, and was told she did not need to come in until the routine recall.

However, it was later discovered that the result should have highlighted suspected cellular changes.

After a routine follow-up swab in March 2018, the woman was told the results had shown severe cellular changes.

She was referred for further tests and was diagnosed with cervical cancer the following month.

The woman, who is now cancer-free but could not conceive, is now using funds secured by medical negligence attorneys at Irwin Mitchell to undergo surrogacy in the United States.

She said: “We researched for hours looking for different ways to start a family.

“Starting the surrogacy process has been a huge boost for us and has given us something to focus on. While we’re optimistic that things are going in the right direction, we don’t want to rush things.

“I just hope that by speaking out I can help others and that lessons can be learned from what happened to me. While my original swab was misreported, the second probably helped save my life.

“It’s important that women don’t feel embarrassed and make sure they come to appointments. It’s also important that women diagnosed with cervical cancer don’t feel like they’re suffering alone. Help and support are available.”

Sharon Williams, Medical Negligence Attorney at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing the woman, said: “Our client’s case is sadly yet another reminder of the consequences women can face from improper swab testing.

“The past few years and dealing with her diagnosis and what it means for her in the long term have been incredibly upsetting for her.

“While we cannot make amends for what happened, we are pleased that we were able to find 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 participating in the cervical cancer screening program.

“We continue to support our client as she tries to look to the future and hopefully achieve her dream of having the family she has always wanted.”

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