A grieving husband is suing a hospital trust after his 35-year-old wife died of cervical cancer after her smear test results were wrongly recorded as normal.
Mum-of-two Louisa Foster visited her GP for routine screening in July 2008, which revealed cell abnormalities.
She was given the all-clear and told she didn’t need another test for three years – but died after contracting incurable cervical cancer.
The NHS has since admitted liability for her death after accepting that with ‘appropriate treatment’ Louisa “would not have developed cervical cancer and her death would have been avoided”.
They also accepted that if Louisa’s test results had been reported as ‘abnormal’ she would have been referred for more tests.
Louisa’s husband, Graeme Foster, 49, said: “Had Louisa been given accurate results she could have sought further help and treatment before it was too late. My wife would still be alive and my children would still have their mum.
“No women should have to go through the pain Louisa did.
“We trusted the hospital’s opinions and it’s only now that we know the doctors faced a tremendously difficult task because they were referring to incorrect information on her medical notes.”
Louisa, from Granborough, Bucks., underwent annual smear test screening as part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, before the results were sent to Sheffield for analysis.
But after giving birth to her second born, Casper, in December 2010, Louisa started to suffer with pain and discomfort.
Doctors put her symptoms down to childbirth or an infection, yet she continued to experience symptoms of cervical cancer including intense pains in her back, pelvis and abdomen.
Graeme said: “To see her health deteriorate as the cancer took hold of her was heartbreaking.”
“She was suffering extreme pain because of her illness.
“When Louisa started complaining of pain in her stomach and back and started losing weight shortly after giving birth to Casper I instinctively knew something wasn’t right.
“However, the doctors seemed to think Louisa’s symptoms were connected to childbirth or she had an infection.”
After continuing to visit her doctor, Louise was referred to a gynaecologist.
She underwent further tests and a biopsy, before being diagnosed with cervical cancer in April 2011.
Louise was given “intensive treatment” including a hysterectomy as well as combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in a bid to beat the disease.
But she was later told the cancer was incurable and she died on June 14, 2013 – eight days after being admitted to a hospice
Graeme has now instructed lawyers to sue Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to secure a settlement for his two children, Poppy, 10 and seven-year-old Casper.
Marcos Eleftheriou, expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Graeme, said: “Louisa’s case sadly highlights the devastating consequences that can happen because of delays in diagnosing and treating cervical cancer.
“While nothing can bring Louisa back we are thankful that the NHS Trust has admitted liability for her death. It’s now vital that the Trust learns lessons to ensure such a mistake does not happen again.
“Although Louisa’s test results were recorded inaccurately it’s important women continue to take part in the NHS’ Cervical Screening Programme.
“We also join Graeme in encouraging any women who may think they have the symptoms of cervical cancer to seek medical advice at the earliest possible opportunity.”
The national routine check up for females to attend their first annual screening is 25-years-old.
All women who are registered with a GP are invited to to the doctors for a smear test every three years.
Graeme added: “It’s so important that if any women feel they may have symptoms linked to cervical cancer they seek medical advice quickly, and if needs be don’t take no for an answer.”