A mum has been awarded £50,000 compensation after doctors TWICE bungled her smear tests resulting in her developing cancer.
Devastated Claire Millward, 37, has now been left infertile after the catalogue of errors.
The heart-broken mum had been desperate to have more children - siblings for her eight-year-old son Jamie.
Now, Northampton General Hospital have admitted that Claire's smear tests were not read properly, and an independent medical expert has said the cancer could have been prevented.
Claire had two smear tests at Northampton General Hospital in 2003 and 2005. The first test showed borderline changes, the second should have been read as abnormal and both should have resulted in follow up appointments which never materialised.
Claire and son Jamie. Pic: Masons
Claire had a negative smear test in 2008 but demanded another test in February 2009 - which she was refused on the grounds she was not due one until September that year. Concerned, Claire organised a test herself, the result of which saw her having an emergency radical hysterectomy, including lymph node removal, in March 2009. The surgery left her infertile.
Claire said she doesn't know what made her 'push' for another test, but said that the 'most scary thought ever' is what could have happened if she hadn't:
"The independent medical expert said if I had waited until September to have treatment I would have been dead as the tumours were growing. If they had spotted the cancer earlier I would not have lost my womb and could have more children now."
Claire said she and her husband Carl, 43, had wanted a big family and were trying for another baby when the cancer was diagnosed.
An independent cytopathologist who reviewed Claire's case said if the abnormal cells had been picked up on her 2003 or 2005 scans she could have been treated with a cone biopsy and would have kept her womb.
Claire's solicitor Neil Clayton said: "Claire's 2003 smear showed borderline changes and should have resulted in a colposcopy referral for a detailed investigation. Her 2005 smear result was abnormal, again showing glandular neoplasia, and Claire should have had an urgent colposcopy referral.
"Our independent cytopathologist said they should have done a cone biopsy to remove the abnormal, pre-cancerous, cells if the tests had been read correctly. If they had read the results right in first place she would not have gone on to develop the cancer and avoided the hysterectomy.
"The lesson for hospitals is to be very careful to keep on top of results and ensure there are regular audits."
A spokesman for Northampton General Hospital said: "We accept that, regrettably, those smears were incorrectly reported and that this may have contributed to a delayed diagnosis of glandular neoplasia (abnormalities of glandular cells).
"We are truly sorry for those errors."