In June 1998 Sandra attended her GP with a lump in her breast and pain in her left arm. She was referred to the local breast clinic at the hospital where they undertook investigations by fine needle operation.
The diagnosis was probably a benign tumour. Sandra was discharged from further treatment because there was “no evidence of carcinoma”.
Sandra was pregnant at the time and delivered a healthy baby girl in March 1999. In May 1999 she attended the out-patient clinic where a breast examination took place. The examination revealed no evidence of malignancy and no investigations were undertaken at that repeat appointment. Sandra was reassured that the lump in her breast was benign.
In May 2000, some 14 months later, Sandra attended her GP complaining of an enlarged breast and was referred to St George’s Hospital where cancer was diagnosed. The initial treatment was chemotherapy, which was not successful in shrinking the tumour, and on 9 January 2001 Sandra had a left-sided mastectomy.
Paul McNeil acted for Sandra in connection with a delayed diagnosis claim on the grounds that the carcinoma should have been diagnosed in July 1998 or in May 1999 at the latest.
The hospital defended the claim on the grounds that even if there had been negligence there would have been no difference in outcome. They said that Sandra would still have had to have a mastectomy.
The case was settled just before trial with Sandra receiving £70,000 compensation, which included damages for the physical and psychological injuries suffered.
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