person sat on floor looking upset

Mrs U had suffered years of psychological harm which negatively impacted her family relationships, work activities and social life after a hospital accidentally discarded a specimen which was due to be sent for cancer testing. She turned to Ally Taft, Partner and Head of Clinical Negligence to assist with her claim.

In 2018, Mrs U experienced episodes of abdominal bloating and pain, and felt a mass which she believed ought to be checked out. After an ultrasound and other testing at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, it was confirmed that Mrs U had a fibroid, and she was fitted with a Mirena coil to stop growth of the fibroid. However, eventually the pain and bloating returned. Following another round of tests and scans in 2021 a decision was made to carry out a total hysterectomy, with biopsies taken, as there were concerns that the fibroid may be cancerous.

Mrs U was very scared that she may have cancer and anxious about what they may find during the surgery. The hysterectomy itself went smoothly and Mrs U was recovering well and ready for discharge. However, she became concerned when one of the nurses told her that the specimen, which was due to be taken to the histology lab for testing, had gone missing. A report after the operation confirmed that the fibroid specimen had been thrown out by accident. This meant that the oncology team could not confirm for definite that she did not have cancer, and she could not be discharged from the care of oncology.

As a result, Mrs U has had to undergo regular MRI scans, blood tests and check-ups every six months, continuing for five years after the operation. Mrs U experienced anxiety about whether she had cancer, which delayed her return to work.

Following these events, Mrs U’s relationship with her husband and children deteriorated, so she self-funded counselling sessions. She began to isolate herself from loved ones, and lost interest in socialising.

Had the specimen not been lost, Mrs U would not face the uncertainty and anxiety regarding her health and future. She would have avoided the strain on her family and social life.

Ally Taft investigated the claim and was able to negotiate a successful settlement to reflect the psychological harm suffered by Mrs U and to cover her treatment costs.

Following the successful resolution of the case, Mrs U said: “I can confirm that I have received the settlement payment today. I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to you and your exceptional team for supporting me in my claim.

“You have all been amazing and I appreciate all your hard work. Your team has been very patient and understanding, and also kind to explain to me the process which has helped me in my decisions.”

Ally Taft said: “Negligence on the part of the hospitals in which Mrs U was treated resulted in unacceptable psychological distress – which could have been avoided. I’m very pleased Mrs U was able to come to us and we were able to resolve the situation to provide peace of mind for her.”

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Meet the Team

Ally Taft, Head of Clinical Negligence

Starting out as a physiotherapist, Ally embarked on her legal training knowing that she wanted to specialise in clinical negligence from the outset. Now a partner for Medical Accident Group, her experience and medical understanding have stood her and her clients in good stead, combined, as they are, with her determination to seek justice for clients whose lives have been devastated by clinical negligence.

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