Mrs Smith attended for regular smear tests over the years and all had been reported as normal.
Just before a regular smear test, she had noticed irregular bleeding. The test was reported as abnormal and she was referred to hospital where she underwent a colposcopy and diagnosed with cervical cancer. She was then referred for a hysterectomy.
On coming round from the operation, Mrs Smith was advised by the consultant that he had been unable to carry out the hysterectomy as the tumour had spread further than he thought and she had bled profusely.
She then underwent a course of radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy, followed by a one-off course of internal radiotherapy lasting 26 hours. It transpired that a previous smear had been reported as normal, despite it containing sparse epithelial cells.