£170,000 awarded for negligent breast cancer treatment

Our client was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and underwent three surgeries to remove the tumour, none of which were entirely successful. At no point did the hospital provide any advice to our client regarding the benefits of a mastectomy – the surgical removal of one or both breasts to treat or prevent breast cancer. Had she been given the choice, our client would have opted for a mastectomy. Following the final surgery, she was discharged and asked to attend annual check-ups and mammograms.

Some four years later, in May 2014, our client noticed a lump in her right breast which she reported to the breast care nurse. She was told that this was not a lump, but scar tissue from her previous surgeries and that there was no need to bring forward her next mammogram which was due some four months later.

Even though a mammogram was undertaken in August 2014, a follow-up appointment was not organised until three months later, when the Breast Surgeon noticed the lump in our client’s right breast. Further investigations were requested which revealed breast cancer which had spread to her liver and was inoperable.

Our client underwent chemotherapy and was reported to have enjoyed a complete remission. She sadly relapsed and was given only 12 to 15 months to live.

We obtained supportive expert evidence from a Professor in Surgical Oncology and submitted a Letter of Claim to Medway NHS Foundation Trust. We alleged that the Trust should have properly advised our client in 2010 regarding the benefits of a mastectomy. Our client would have opted for a mastectomy and would not have suffered a relapse 4 years later and her life expectancy would not have been reduced. We also alleged that there was a 6-month delay in diagnosing her relapse.

In the letter of response from Medway NHS Foundation Trust, only the 6-month delay in diagnosing the relapse was admitted and an offer was received in the sum of £11,000.

Nevertheless, after a period of negotiation, we managed to obtain further admissions from the Trust and eventually settled our client’s claim for £170,000.