Cancer family awarded 200,000 pounds

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THE FAMILY of a woman who died from cancer after a suspicious cervical smear test was not referred for further investigation was yesterday awarded pounds 200,000 agreed High Court damages.

Hilary Hillier died in April at the age of 38, five years after discovering that she had the disease. During that time she underwent radiotherapy and had a hysterectomy.

She left a husband, David, 37, a Royal Navy Petty Officer based at Culdrose, Cornwall, and two children, Thomas, nine, and Harriet, six.

Nicholas Davidson QC, for the family, of Helston, Cornwall, told Mr Justice Otton that a referral was said to be necessary on the basis of one smear but that was not pursued. Repeat smears showed an apparently normal result and did not call for referral.

He said: 'There's a strong probability that if the referral had taken place, Mrs Hillier would have been diagnosed as having a potential malignancy . . . and the prospect of her living a normal and reasonably trouble-free life would have been very good.'

Approving the award against Dr Richard Harding, of East Parade, York, who was Mrs Hillier's GP at the time and who admitted liability, the judge said it was not so much a failure of medical care as of communication.