A woman is taking legal action against an NHS trust after she had a hysterectomy because bungling doctors misdiagnosed her cancer for 14 months.
Hayley Wareing, 36, had a smear test in 2015 and despite showing tell tale signs of having cervical cancer, she was never diagnosed.
She was finally correctly diagnosed when she went to a private consultant for a second opinion more than year after her original test.
Eight days later she underwent a full hysterectomy which meant she was left unable to have children.
After her surgery she also went through 200 hours of gruelling chemotherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy to stop the cancer spreading.
She said: “I feel like a totally different person since my diagnosis and it has been incredibly difficult trying to come to terms with how my life has been turned upside down.
“Simple things that many people take for granted are now a real struggle. Even walking can be painful.
“I used to enjoy exercise and would go to the gym around six times a week but even moderate exercise now can leave me in agony for days after.
“One of the worst things has been trying to come to terms with the fact that I cannot have any children.
“I was always dreamed of having two children.
“It is difficult not to feel angry at what happened but I want to try and focus on the future.
“I just hope that the Hospital Trust realises the impact its error has had on my life and learns lessons to improve patient care.
“By speaking out I hope other women realise how important it is that they recognise the signs of cervical cancer and seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity.”
Hayley had a smear test in October 2015 at her GP surgery.
The test was sent to University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust for analysis, and the results coming back as “negative”.
Hayley was invited for a routine follow up test in a further three years.
But in May 2016 she visited A&E at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after she suffered heavy bleeding for more than a week.
In November 2016 Hayley once again visited her GP complaining of bleeding, including after going to the gym.
Her GP referred her to a private consultant who raised suspicions and sent her for tests including a biopsy.
She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2016 and had a hysterectomy eight days later.
Hayley had previously travelled the world with her job as a service delivery manager but was forced to quit after her diagnosis.
She now works for a bank but continues to suffer back, pelvis and hip pain, as well as fatigue and chronic swelling in her thighs caused by a build-up of fluid from her radiotherapy.
Hayley, of Kings Norton, Birmingham, is now in remission and has instructed medical negligence lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate her case.
Her lawyer Emma Rush said: “The last couple of years have been extremely upsetting for Hayley as continues to try to come to terms with her diagnosis and the effects of her treatment, sadly including that she will not be able to have children.
“We believe that if Hayley’s tests results had been recorded correctly she would have received urgent appropriate treatment, which would have avoided her hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“We now call on the Trust to ensure it learns lessons from this case so other women do not have to go through the anger and upset Hayley has had to endure following her diagnosis.
“Cervical cancer is a treatable disease with a good long term prognosis when it is diagnosed early.
“It is important women continue to attend regular smear appointments and be aware of the symptoms, and if needed, seek medical advice at the earliest possible opportunity.
University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which was responsible for analysing the original smear test results, admitted that Hayley’s smear test was interpreted incorrectly.
A hospital spokesperson said: “The admission has been made by the trust that on this occasion Ms Wareing did not receive the care she could have reasonably expected.
“We are working with Ms Wareing’s representatives to achieve an appropriate resolution of the litigation.
“The trust always strives to deliver the safest and most appropriate care to all of our patients and cascades the learnings from cases such as this one.”
By Arun Lal