Linda died at the age of 52 on 5 December 2006 from cervical cancer. She was married and had two children and had worked as a Deputy Head Teacher in a local school.
Before she died Linda pursued a formal complaint against the hospital run by Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust and asked her daughter, Roxanne, to pursue a legal claim in the event of her death. Samantha Critchley acted for the family.
Experts instructed by Samantha advised that in April 1999 a cervical smear was negligently reported as being negative, and in April 2003, when the cervical cancer was finally diagnosed, the hospital failed to remove all of the abnormal cells. The Hospital strongly denied that the smear showed any abnormalities in 1999.
The Hospital admitted that the care given in 2003 was unacceptable but denied that any treatment at this time would have saved Linda’s life.
The case was fixed for trial in December 2011.
Astonishingly, just a matter of days before the cytology experts on both sides were due to meet to examine the smear slide under a double-headed microscope, the Defendant advised that the crucial 1999 slide had been lost. This was very serious and it meant that the expert discussion could not proceed.
The Oncology experts meeting did proceed and the Defendant’s expert accepted that had the cancer been treated appropriately, even in 2003, then Linda would have been cured.
A negotiation meeting went ahead in September 2011.
The Defendant’s starting offer in May 2010 had been £20,000. We secured a settlement of £700,000. After the case Linda’s daughter said of Samantha:
"I genuinely cannot thank you enough for your work and guidance over the last few years. A claim like this will always be a stressful experience due to the memories and regrets it provokes but you always dealt with it so respectfully and I actually found going through this process helped with my own personal grieving."
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