GP surgery pays out £45k over Mercedes' death
THE mother of a cervical cancer victim has vowed to continue her campaign to ensure other young women are given the chance to be tested after winning a £45,000 settlement from her daughter's GP surgery.
Mercedes Curnow was just 23 when she died on December 14, 2011, at her home in Crowlas.
Her GP has since admitted she should have been referred to a specialist gynaecologist in January 2010 for a smear test, but instead the cancerous tumour was only discovered in April that year.
Mercedes' mum, Sandra Cousins, spent 18 months nursing her and watching helplessly as the disease spread. A year after her death she delivered a petition to Downing Street with more than 112,000 signatures calling on the NHS to reintroduce cervical cancer smear testing for women from the age of 20 in England, as is the case in Wales and Scotland.
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Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, instructed by the family, have now secured a £45,000 settlement from Mercedes' GP at the Marazion Surgery, which will help cover the cost of the extensive care provided by her mother for nearly two years.
In 2009, when Mercedes was 20, she began suffering from heavy periods, blood clots and severe abdominal pain.
Her family pleaded with doctors to carry out a smear test but for 12 months she was put on the contraceptive pill in an attempt to ease her heavy periods.
The lawyers' inquiries revealed that in January 2010 it had been recorded in her notes that a cervical smear test might be needed – but it was not until April that she was diagnosed with cancer.
By this time the tumour was so large she required major surgery and multiple courses of chemotherapy.
Mercedes' weight dropped to below six stones and she became unable to walk unaided.
Sandra said: "Even though Mercedes was suffering so much in her final year, she was determined to make a difference through extensive campaigning to change attitudes to cervical cancer.
"I strongly believe that had my daughter been given the option of a smear test when she first saw her GP, she would still be here today.
"Instead, our pleas for help fell on deaf ears, and despite even acknowledging that a smear test might be appropriate in January, it was four months later that the test was actually carried out.
"We were devastated by her death but it drove us on to continue the campaign on her behalf.
"Now that we have received a settlement we will continue our campaign with renewed vigour."