Young Mother Undergoes Unnecessary Double Mastectomy

Reports this year (2019) have brought a National Health Service patient’s devastating misdiagnosis to light. Unfortunately, a young woman of childbearing age underwent breast removal and gruelling chemotherapy treatment to treat cancer that she never had.

During an appointment three years ago, a specialist told Sarah Boyle, from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, that she had breast cancer and needed a bilateral mastectomy to stop the disease spreading. Also known as a double mastectomy, the life-changing treatment took place at the Royal Stoke University Hospital during December 2016. Usually, surgical patients need between four and six weeks to recover from this type of operation.

Mistaken Biopsy Results

It was not until more than six months later, in July 2017 that the appalling medical mistake at eventually came to light. In a subsequent hospital outpatient appointment, Boyle’s surgeon, Mr Narayanan, informed her that the laboratory test results from her breast biopsies had been incorrect; she did not have cancer before the surgery in 2016.

Boyle finally saw doctors and NHS bosses accept responsibility and confess to the misdiagnosis of breast cancer. Neither the surgery to remove her breasts nor the chemotherapy had been necessary.

Physical and Mental Trauma

Psychologically traumatised by these events, Mrs Boyle could also have suffered fertility problems. Subsequently, however, she gave birth to the couple’s second child. Pictures in UK news reports have shown the 28-year-old mother of two with her sons Teddy and Louis, as well as photographs in which she had flowing locks of hair before the unnecessary multiple rounds of chemotherapy treatment,

Supported by her husband Steven, 31, in an interview with reporters, Boyle described the last few years as having been difficult for her and her family. She described her delight at giving birth to Louis, in marked contrast with her sadness at not being able to breastfeed him.

Staggeringly, in a complication that would have added to the young woman’s shock, Sarah also found out that her breast reconstruction surgery could increase the future risk of a rare type of cancer developing, due to the silicone implants. She went on to describe other enduring symptoms following the treatment.

Additionally, although nothing would change what she had experienced, Mrs Boyle told journalists that she wanted to ensure that other women did not suffer the same fate. On this note, while her solicitor welcomed the NHS Trust’s admission of the evident failings, there still had not been any answer or assurance at the time of writing* from the hospital regarding procedural improvements to prevent recurrences.

Expert Support for Medical Mistakes

Here at NHS Negligence UK, our support team offers advice and legal assistance for patients who have had to bear the effects of medical misdiagnosis, including cancer test errors. If these issues have affected you, you could be entitled to receive compensation. We invite you to contact us here or, if you prefer, telephone us today to evaluate your case in confidence.

Footnote:
* summer 2019.