Woman’s 10-year ordeal of multiple failures to properly diagnose and treat breast cancer
A woman, who we have called Marie, suffered a catalogue of errors including multiple misdiagnoses of breast cancer and further pathology and surgical errors.
Posted on 06 June 2023
Following negotiations by Anna Brothers a solicitor in the Leigh Day clinical negligence team, the woman, received a five-figure settlement.
In 2003, Marie was referred to the breast clinic at Homerton Hospital with a painful lump in her right breast. Ultrasound scanning was performed, and a fine needle aspiration was planned but was never followed through. As a result, Marie was wrongly reassured on imaging alone that the lump was benign, when in fact she had cancer.
In 2004, Marie was reviewed again at Homerton Hospital by which time the lump was large and visible. This time it was correctly diagnosed as cancer and chemotherapy was scheduled, followed by surgery, which took place at the Royal Marsden Hospital in August of 2005.
However, there was a failure to remove all the cancerous cells during this surgery but, as the errors were not recognised at the time, and the clinicians and Marie believed that all the cancer had been removed.
In April 2011, Marie noticed another small lump in her right breast, and she went back to the Royal Marsden. Again, biopsies were not taken and again she was told wrongly reassured that the lump was benign.
Marie’s lump did not go away, and she went back to the Royal Marsden in November 2011, January 2012, and March 2013. On each occasion, Marie was reassured that there were no signs of recurrent disease.
Finally in May 2013, biopsies of the lump were undertaken, which revealed that Marie in fact had two grade 1 invasive ductal carcinomas. She underwent surgery in June 2013 but again the cancer was not fully removed and in addition Marie suffered from a severe wound infection.
In September 2015, it was seen that Marie had nodules in the front of the chest wall which had been there for some time and biopsies revealed recurrence of cancer.
In October Marie underwent further surgery and finally all the disease was removed, and she has not had any further recurrences.
Marie instructed Anna Brothers, Leigh Day solicitor and partner in the clinical negligence department, to investigate her case. Anna instructed experts in breast surgery, oncology, radiology, and pathology who identified various failings in Marie’s care and treatment.
Anna Brothers said:
“Marie was only in her 30s when this ordeal began. She unnecessarily suffered for 10 years with ill-health which she now knows was as a result of poorly managed cancer treatment. We have achieved compensation for Marie, but money simply cannot rectify the damage that has been done in this case. We hope however it goes some way towards Marie building a better future and that she remains cancer free”