Young mum has double mastectomy and chemo only to be told cancer diagnosis was wrong

Posted On:   20 July 2019

Staffordshire, UK – 20th July, 2019: Sarah Boyle was 25 when doctors misdiagnosed her with triple negative breast cancer at the end of 2016 and only realised the mistake in July 2017.

Sarah had by then already received extensive treatment and surgery. The mum-of-two, who is now 28, had to endure several rounds of gruelling chemotherapy treatment, a bilateral mastectomy and breast implants at Royal Stoke University Hospital. Sarah, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, has since received the added blow that her reconstructive surgery may now potentially put her at risk of developing cancer in the future.

She has also suffered psychological trauma as a result of her ordeal and is still having to cope with symptoms caused by her treatment. Sarah, who lives with husband Steven, 31, and her two children Teddy and Louis, said: ‘The past few years have been incredibly difficult for me and my family. ‘Being told I had cancer was awful, but then to go through all of the treatment and surgery to then be told it was unnecessary was traumatising.’ The 28-year-old was also initially told that her cancer treatment may lead to fertility issues, but fortunately she went on to have a second child, Louis, who is now seven-months-old. She was nonetheless ‘heartbroken’ when she was told she couldn’t breastfeed him due to her treatment.

‘As if that wasn’t bad enough, I am now worried about the possibility of actually developing cancer in the future because of the type of implants I have and I am also worried about complications that I may face because of my chemotherapy. ‘While nothing will change what I’ve been through, I really need some answers on what is being done to make sure nobody else suffers in the same way I have.’ The hospital has since apologised for its blunder, which came about when doctors realised Sarah’s biopsy results had been incorrectly reported. She instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers to investigate the case who have now secured an admission of liability from University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Sarah Sharples, a legal expert at Irwin Mitchell solicitors who is representing Sarah, said: ‘This is a truly shocking case in which a young mother has faced heartbreaking news and a gruelling period of extensive treatment, only to be told that it was not necessary. ‘The entire experience has had a huge impact on Sarah in many ways. ‘While we welcome that the NHS Trust has admitted to the clear failings, we are yet to hear if any improvements have been put in place to prevent something like this happening again. ‘We are also deeply concerned following reports surrounding the type of implants Sarah has, with suspicions over their potential link to a rare form of cancer. ‘Understandably, Sarah has a number of questions that need to be answered with regards to this and it has caused her significant distress.’

A spokesman for the trust apologised to Sarah saying: ‘A misdiagnosis of this kind is exceptionally rare and we understand how devastating this has been for Sarah and her family. ‘Ultimately the misreporting of the biopsy was a human error so, as an extra safeguard, all invasive cancer diagnoses are now reviewed by a second pathologist. ‘Sarah continues to be in regular contact with the clinical team who treated her and they are always available to discuss any ongoing concerns she may have.’