Hospital Found Negligent in Cervical Cancer Deaths

British Judge John Peppitt ruled that Kent and Canterbury Hospital was guilty of negligence for failing to refer three women to further treatment when their Pap smears showed slight abnormalities. Compensation for the plaintiffs will be determined in late June.

Helen Palmer, Lesley Cannon, and Sandra Penney were later diagnosed with cervical cancer and forced to have radical hysterectomies while still in their thirties.

Eight deaths and thirty hysterectomies have been linked to mistakes made at the hospital lab between 1990 and 1995. The hospital has been fraught with allegations of poor screening and has already paid compensation in 47 cases. It has denied compensation to 14 other women, including the three afore-mentioned plaintiffs, charging that their test results showed only slight abnormalities and were borderline cases.

Plaintiff’s attorney Sarah Harman stated, “These women have fought to get reasonable standards, and important lessons have to be learned about the cervical screening program.”


AP - February 15, 1999

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