Cervical Cancer Screenings (04:15)
Poor management and staff confusion at the Kent and Canterbury Hospitals caused numerous cases of cervical cancer to go undetected from 1991 to 1995. Neil Woodward joined the screening center as its chief scientist in 1993 and later exposed its failings.
Cancer Screening Mistakes (03:02)
Abnormalities are easy to miss so most labs have quality control systems to ensure no errors are made. Woodward realized the patients' previous smear tests were not checked when an abnormality was spotted, so mistakes were going unnoticed. His boss resigned because of money fraud allegations.
Concerns About Screening Mistakes (03:05)
Woodward struggled to get a response from hospital consultants to his concerns about the mistakes. The consultants focused on solving staffing issues in the labs.
Screener Education (04:17)
In early 1994, Woodward provided training courses to screeners, which they had not had in years. It was viewed as him overstepping his duties and created a conflict within the department. A change in the frequency of screenings caused a backlog and led to screeners working long hours.
Case Against Screening Center (03:00)
Woodward had told Val Crafter, the pathology lab manager, about the problems in the screening center. She encouraged him to keep records of everything for when he was ready to report the problems. He began collecting data to prove the mistakes being made.
Quality Control at the Center (03:08)
After a screener resigned over the working conditions, Woodward hired biomedical scientist Steven Blackman to replace her. He was able to help Woodward catch more mistakes and became an ally within the center.
Proof of Screening Mistakes (02:59)
In late 1995, Woodward and Blackman found that in one day at the center six abnormal slides had been reported as normal. Woodward and Crafter informed the screener of her errors and agreed to work with her to improve. The consultants chastised Woodward for not including them in the meeting.
Recognition of Screening Mistakes (04:07)
Dr. Mark Winter, the new head of pathology, met with Woodward and asked him to draft a report on the problems in the center. Slides were sent to be re-screened at another lab; the number of mistakes was leaked to the press. The British Parliament added new regulations.
Credits: Disaster: Series 3: A Cancer In The System (01:11)
Credits: Disaster: Series 3: A Cancer In The System
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