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Compensation for woman who was incorrectly diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer

A woman who underwent unnecessary surgery has settled her medical negligence claim

Surgical staff scrubbed up before procedure

15 August 2018

A woman, known only as Linda to protect her identity, has settled her medical negligence claim after being incorrectly diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.

Linda contacted Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) for advice and was directed to medical negligence specialist lawyer Sally-Jean Nicholes to represent her in her claim, after suffering post-surgical complications, pain and depression for a breast cancer that she did not have.

Linda had a history of breast cysts and was always very careful to notice and report any changes to her doctor.  She had regular ultrasound checks, mammograms and other tests.

In 2014 she was advised that a core biopsy sample needed to be taken for analysis. Linda was told that the results showed that she had breast cancer. She was devastated by the news that she had cancer.  She had to tell her family (she has young children) and her work colleagues about her diagnosis.  She was very afraid for her future.  

Linda underwent a surgical procedure to remove the lump, and to have a node biopsy taken to check on the spread of the cancer. This would help advise medical staff about the types of further treatment she would need; radiotherapy or chemotherapy. 

Approximately three weeks later she went back to the hospital for the results and advice about the next treatment. The Consultant told her that a mistake had been made and that she did not have, and never had had, breast cancer.  The hospital apologised.  

Linda was relieved that she did not have cancer but she had undergone surgical treatment that meant she had misshapen, uneven breasts and scarring. 

She also developed lymphedema in her arm following the removal of lymph nodes for testing.  This meant that Linda had to go to hospital frequently for fluid in her arm to be drained. Eventually she underwent another operation to try and help with this. 

Problems with her arm, and increased pain meant that she was unable to continue in a job she had enjoyed.  She became depressed and was treated for depression.  

Following investigation of the claim, Linda accepted a five figure sum. 

Medical negligence solicitor at Leigh Day, Sally-Jean Nicholes, said:

“I hope that this compensation will enable Linda to get the help she needs in order to put this very difficult experience behind her and move on”.

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