In April 2013 aged 36, Dr M developed a lump in her breast and attended the breast clinic at The Countess of Chester Hospital, where she underwent a core biopsy under ultrasound guidance. There was a failure by the Defendant Hospital to recognise that the biopsy had not accurately targeted Dr M’s lump. Had they recognised this failure, then they would have arranged another biopsy to have taken place.
Dr M was informed that she had benign, fibrocystic change and was discharged. No follow up was arranged and no safety net advice was given. Over the next 14 months, Dr M was continually worried about the presentation of the lump. She therefore went to see a private doctor in June 2014. By then her lump had grown in size and she was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer.
Dr M subsequently found out that the carcinoma was located at the site of the original biopsy undertaken in April 2013, but this had been missed as the biopsy had not been appropriately targeted. Had this been done, then her cancer would have been diagnosed much sooner.
Dr M underwent chemotherapy, a radical mastectomy and radiotherapy. However, she developed lung and brain metastases. Dr M collapsed and died in April 2016 due to a pulmonary embolism. It is likely that this was caused by her cancer and ongoing treatment with chemotherapy. Dr M was just 39 years old.
Support and specialist advice
Prior to her death, our team advised Dr M regarding a potential claim for damages and obtained initial expert evidence. Unfortunately Dr M passed away before we received the first report. Following her death, her partner carried on her claim as this is something that she wanted him to do. Evidence was obtained from a Consultant Breast Surgeon, Histopathologist and Radiologist to support a claim for compensation for Dr M’s family. These experts agreed that but for the Defendant’s negligence, Dr M would have achieved a period of remission for approximately 2 years before her cancer recurred. Her life would have been duly extended.
The Defendant Hospital made a full admission of liability at the pre-action stage. This was our priority as this was something which was very important to Dr M. We were also able to secure damages in the region of £75,000 on behalf of the estate.
Dr M’s partner praised the support provided by the team along with the professional handling of the claim in what was a very difficult time for all those affected by Dr M’s death. He added:
“The most important thing for me was to read the words in that last letter where the representatives of the Countess of Chester Health Trust admitted that trust staff had made some serious mistakes in her diagnosis and treatment; words that Dr M unfortunately never got to hear in her lifetime”.