Woman faces reduced life expectancy following breast cancer failings at Queen Alexandra Hospital | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Woman faces reduced life expectancy following breast cancer failings at Queen Alexandra Hospital

Helen Thompson settled a claim on behalf of Mrs H in relation to care she received at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth for breast cancer.

In March 2014 Mrs H was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. She underwent a course of chemotherapy to which the tumour did not respond adequately. This meant that Mrs H was at increased risk of the breast cancer returning but this was not explained to her. Mrs H was also not advised that her risk of cancer recurrence would be reduced if she had radiotherapy following breast surgery.

In October 2014 Mrs H underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction with an implant. Radiotherapy was not discussed with her. Instead of advising Mrs H that she was at increased risk of cancer recurrence, her surgeon led her to believe that the cancer could not return in the reconstructed breast.

In late 2015 Mrs H noticed a lump in her reconstructed breast. She raised concerns about this with her surgeon in December 2015 and February 2016. On both occasions the surgeon reassured Mrs H that the lump was nothing to worry about, she said the lump was scar tissue, that it would go down in time and the surgeon took no steps to investigate the lump.

At her next follow up appointment in February 2017 Mrs H again raised concerns about the persistent lump. On this occasion she was seen by a different surgeon who immediately performed an ultrasound scan and biopsy of the lump. These investigations confirmed that the lump was cancer and further scans confirmed metastatic tumours in the lungs which were incurable.

Mrs H underwent palliative chemotherapy and in December 2018 she started an Immune Therapy clinical trial which has resulted in the lung tumours remaining stable. With these therapies Mrs H has remained well with few symptoms, however her life expectancy has been significantly reduced by around 20 years.

The Trust previously carried out a Serious Untoward Incident investigation with regards to the failure to investigate the breast lump in 2015/2016 which was highly critical. However, during the litigation the Trust rescinded on the findings of the investigation and defended Mrs H's claim in full.

Eventually, and only once the claim reached less than three weeks before Trial, a settlement of £235,000 was negotiated at a settlement meeting.

Upon conclusion of the claim Mrs H commented to Helen Thompson "I was keen to record my sincere thanks to you for all the work you have undertaken on my behalf and seen through to final phase. You have been professional and shown empathy throughout process and explained all stages to me. You are a star."

Contact us

For further information about breast cancer claims and clinical negligence compensation claims, please call Helen Thompson on 03304606765 or email helen.thompson@fieldfisher.com.


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