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Apology and compensation after unsuccessful breast cancer surgery

Medical negligence lawyers secure apology and compensation when breast cancer sugery had to be repeated

25 June 2014

A woman in her 70’s has received an apology and compensation after unsuccessful cancer surgery which led to an infection and a second operation to successfully remove a cancerous tumour from her breast.

In April 2009 the woman known only as Mrs AB, found a lump in her breast, which was confirmed to be cancer.

She was admitted to Charing Cross Hospital for treatment and underwent biopsies and radiological scans to confirm the stage of the cancer and the position of the tumour.

It was decided that surgery might prevent the spread of the cancer and so she underwent an operation to remove the tumour on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend.

According to Mrs AB she was the last patient to go into theatre that day and had not met the surgeon before the operation and her arm and breast were marked by a doctor who she claimed was relying purely on the information in her notes rather than examining her.  

Mrs AB recounted being alarmed as she had seen other patients who had gone in before her to have their breast tumours excised with the assistance of an ultrasound guided wire.

During surgery, the surgeon couldn’t find the tumour and after a considerable amount of time searching around in the breast, it was assumed the tumour must have been removed when the lump was biopsied during an earlier appointment.

Around two weeks later this was found to be an error.  The cancer had been missed as the surgeon operated on the wrong place in the client’s breast.

Due to the invasive surgery Mrs AB had a painful wound, which then got infected and required treatment before a second operation could be performed to remove the cancer.

Three weeks later she had successful surgery to remove the cancer which was localised using a wire placed under radiological control.

According to Anna Brothers from the clinical negligence team at Leigh Day, the ordeal had a devastating effect on her client.

Ms Brothers, said:

“Having been diagnosed with cancer is a devastating ordeal in itself to then be faced with two very invasive surgeries has just added to the pain my client feels physically and emotionally.”

“we were extremely pleased to obtain an early admission of liability from the hospital, an apology from the Trust and compensation for increased scaring, an unnecessary second operation, loss of volume in her breast tissue, psychological distress and reconstructive surgery.”

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