Working on medical negligence cases means you often have to deal with some heartbreaking stories. That would apply to what happened with young Southport mother of three, Lynsey Wright, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in January 2011. She first felt that something was amiss when she started bleeding abnormally. Her doctor thought that it was polyps on her cervix which could be treated by simply cutting them off.
So Lynsey underwent a fairly routine procedure, thinking that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. When she and her husband Keith went back to the doctor for her results, she was told that she had cervical cancer.
Time is of the essence with a diagnosis like that, so two months later, Lynsey underwent a hysterectomy at the age of 32. The operation was deemed to be a success and Lynsey was given the all-clear. However, for reasons unknown, her ovaries had not been removed, even though she had been told that they would be. She was rather concerned about this, given that she had been previously advised that one of them looked a little suspicious. She had even told the surgeon that she was happy for the ovaries to be removed, seeing as she wasn’t planning any more children and didn’t want to take any risks.
In July of 2011, Lynsey learned that the all-clear that she had been given was medically inaccurate. The cancer had not been completely removed after all and had now spread to her ovaries. She was told that she had only 12 months to live. As Lynsey herself later told us “My wishes were ignored. I could still have had a healthy life ahead of me if my ovaries had been removed when I requested it”.
Lynsey contacted us around this time, feeling that it would be worthwhile to get some solicitors involved and we immediately felt that this was a clear-cut case of medical negligence. It also opened doors to what could be a potentially life-saving solution to many other women in a similar position. So we launched the Lynsey Wright Appeal. This was partly to raise some interim funds so that Lynsey could fulfil her wish list with her children in the months that remained, but also served to showcase the importance of smear tests. We believe that if these tests were recommended every one or two years instead of the usual three-year gap, then many lives could be saved. If it’s caught early enough, 92% of women with cervical cancer can be cured, compared with 66% after symptoms have developed.
Sadly, Lynsey lost her battle with cancer in May 2012. The Lynsey Wright Appeal is an ongoing concern of ours and we know it’s what Lynsey would have wanted. She was particularly passionate about the fact that around 20% of women don’t go for their cervical screening. A couple of minutes of discomfort could be a life-saver. Indeed Lynsey herself said: “This campaign is so important to me because there are so many women out there who will not go for a smear test. If my campaign makes 10 women get up and go for a smear test, I will be a happy woman”.
Despite the sadness of losing Lynsey, we have continued with her claim on behalf of her husband and children. As we have some serious concerns about a number of aspects of the care she received, we are performing our own investigations into whether her tragic death could have been avoided. We believe it’s very important that any failings in the care Lynsey received be identified so that we can try to ensure that they’re never repeated.