21st August’19 – Our client, Mrs C, aged 47, from Canterbury, brought a clinical negligence claim as a result of being wrongly advised that she had breast cancer in her right breast.
The claim was against East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust and involved their breast cancer screening unit at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital.
In 2014, our client found lumps in both her right and left breast. She had 4 biopsies -3 of the left breast and 1 of the right breast.
She was informed that 2 of the left breast biopsies were positive for breast cancer and that the right breast biopsy was also positive;
She was advised she would need surgery on both breasts to remove the cancerous tunmours.
She proceeded to a mastectomy of the left breast and a wide local excision
(lumpectomy) on the right breast.
A number of lymph nodes were also tested (sentinel node biopsy) from underneath both the left and right armpits in order to assess the spread of the breast cancer.
Approximately 1 week later, Mrs C returned to hospital in order to be given the results of the lymph node tests following surgery.
She was advised that the results of the left and right breast had been mixed up, due to mislabelling the pots containing the histology samples. The right breast was actually negative for cancer and had been incorrectly confused with the left breast result.
This meant that Mrs C had undergone unnecessary surgery in the form of a
lumpectomy of the right breast leaving her with additional scarring, a lifelong risk of lymphoedema and anxiety and depression requiring EMDR treatment.
A Letter of Claim was sent to the Defendant on behalf of the Claimant.
In response, the Defendant Trust admitted negligence. They confirmed there was a clear mislabelling of the histology sample pots which resulted in the misreporting of the biopsy sample.
Expert evidence was obtained from a Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Consultant Psychiatrist. A full Schedule of Loss was served on the Defendant.
The Defendant put forward an offer of £29,000 in settlement of the claim.
Following negotiations, settlement was achieved in the sum of £35,500.
Kate Kennell, Senior Solicitor who had conduct of the claim commented: “Being diagnosed with breast cancer is traumatic, but to then be told that you never in fact had it, having gone through the pain and anguish of surgery and waiting for results is unbearable and simply appalling. Mistakes like this one should never happen. Hopefully, bringing cases like this forward will help prevent a repeat of the same errors.”