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2m for victim of cancer unable to have children… but she wants even more following two botched smear tests by health board
Helen McGlone had two smear tests but pre-cancerous cells not spotted
The 33-year-old was forced to have a hysterectomy when it was discovered
She sued for 20million for loss of earnings but was awarded 2million
Lord Bannatyne rejected her claim at Edinburgh Court of Session
Her lawyer said she is considering appealing the award
21:13 GMT, 15 December 2012
Disappointed: Dr Helen McGlore, at Edinburgh Court of Session, sued for 20million after two smear tests failed to spot pre-cancerous cells
A woman left unable to have children after a health board failed to spot her cancer has been awarded more than 2million in damages.
Helen McGlone, 33, claimed medical negligence ended her prospects of a high-flying career in the financial sector and will force her to use a surrogate mother to have children.
But the money given to her for loss of earnings at the Court of Session fell far short of the 20million for which she had sued.
In a written ruling issued yesterday, Lord Bannatyne rejected the physics graduate’s claim that a lucrative career was a certainty before her two botched smear tests. Instead, he said her chances of getting a top City job during the financial crash of 2008 were only 30 per cent.
Dr McGlone was said to be ‘disappointed’ by the award. She is still seeking compensation from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to pay for a surrogate mother in the US after being forced to undergo a radical hysterectomy when her cancer was discovered two years too late.
Following the decision, she said: ‘I am still working through the detail of what has been published today.
‘Only someone who has suffered a serious cancer and the resulting treatment can truly appreciate the pain, fear and loss that come with it.
‘I was fortunate in that I survived, but I certainly had to fight hard to do so. This case is about protecting other women from an atrocious, preventable cancer and I will continue to do everything I can for them.'
The 33-year-old, who was born in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, had planned to have as many as four children – but was left unable to become a mother by a double medical blunder.
She had two cervical smears in 2005 and 2006, both of which failed to spot pre-cancerous cells.
Her eventual diagnosis came by accident after she graduated with a particle physics doctorate from Glasgow University and moved to Switzerland to work for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN.
After cutting her hand, she discovered she had medical insurance and, as one of a number of medical checks, was given a smear test.
The cancer was caught so late that she was forced to have radical surgery. Her chances of survival during chemotherapy were given as just over 50 per cent, but she battled through – although she can no longer have children.
Then began a long-running legal fight to get the health board to take responsibility for this, ending in a judgment last year that it was to blame.
Dr McGlone listened to four weeks of evidence earlier this year on her loss of earnings from the cancer, which she claims has left her with post- traumatic stress disorder and unable to work.
Giving evidence, she said she was on the point of getting her first job as a quantitative analyst with a top financial institution. She claims she would have made 15-20million over the course of her career.
Lord Bannatyne ruled at Edinburgh Court of Sessions said the chances of Dr McGlone getting a top City job was just 30 per cent
However, the written judgment revealed she had applied to 12 banks following her diagnosis and had been offered a job by none. Moreover, there are only 600 such posts in London, with women filling only 7 per cent.
These considerations led to the compensation figure being downgraded.
Lord Bannatyne also said Dr McGlone was a woman who was ‘driven, highly competitive, calculating, committed to getting on and highly focused’ and that he believed she would find other work.
Taking into account her suffering, loss of earnings and pension, as well as plastic surgery to cover scars, she was awarded 2,026,750.
That may increase following a further hearing on other financial matters. No date has yet been fixed for damages relating to her surrogacy treatment – which, if awarded, would be unprecedented in British courts.
Stephen Hay, head of litigation at Gildeas Solicitors, which represented Dr McGlone, said she was considering an appeal.
He added: ‘She was initially disappointed when she heard the headline figure. She put forward a case where her income would be 300,000 a year until the age of 55 and to be told her loss of earnings will be 1.7million is clearly a significant difference.
‘But the main thing for her has always been that other women should not have to go through this.’
A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said yesterday that its legal team was still going through the 100-page written judgment and that any further statement at this time would be ‘inappropriate’.