Appalling breast cancer surgery errors lead to necrosis and breakdown of breast tissue - £170,000

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Appalling breast cancer surgery errors lead to necrosis and breakdown of breast tissue - £170,000

Kate’ 63

Rebecca Cahill, a specialist medical negligence solicitor at JMW, has helped a woman claim £170,000 in compensation after a substandard mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery led to post-operative complications, damaged breast tissue, and implant failure.


Kate was recalled from a routine mammogram after a suspicious mass in her left breast was confirmed be to cancer.  Despite having a small, localised tumour, she was advised that the best treatment would be a nipple sparing mastectomy (removal of the breast) with an immediate breast reconstruction.  Other, less invasive treatments were not discussed with her.

During the operation, the surgeon used a high risk technique which would interrupt the main blood supply to Kate’s nipple and central breast skin, putting her at significant risk of tissue damage.  The surgeon’s note also recorded some concern about the quality of Kate’s skin, but they failed to take any steps to address this during the operation.   

Within hours of her surgery, the skin around Kate’s wound had started to breakdown and by day five the area was blistered, with two areas of necrosis (tissue death).  Despite this, Kate was prescribed antibiotics and discharged home the following day.

Kate’s left breast continued to deteriorate whilst surgeons adopted a “wait and watch” approach.  Eventually, she was taken back to theatre to have the necrotic tissue removed, but this failed to improve the situation.  Within four weeks, Kate had to have a third surgery, and two weeks later she had her left implant removed.  

Ultimately, Kate required a total of seven operations to treat the necrosis and to reconstruct her left breast.  She was left deeply dissatisfied with the appearance of her breasts, with obvious asymmetry and tight scarring affecting her chest and back.  Kate’s confidence and self-esteem were significantly impacted as a result of the surgical error and she received counselling.

Successful medical negligence claim

After a thorough investigation by the team at JMW, the hospital trust admitted that it was negligent to recommend a mastectomy in Kate’s case, and had she undergone a simple excision and radiotherapy, she would have had a good outcome, avoiding all post-operative complications and a poor cosmetic appearance.

The trust also admitted that the surgery itself had not been performed to a reasonable standard and there had been a delay in Kate receiving treatment when she had clear signs of necrosis in the post-operative period.  They accepted that Kate had to undergo several operations as a result of the negligence and would likely require further surgery in the future. 

The trust agreed to pay Kate £170,000 in compensation for her pain and suffering, future surgeries, additional care needs and the psychological impact of her injury.

Talk to Us

Find out how JMW can help you to make a claim by calling us on 0345 872 6666 today. Alternatively, fill out an online contact form to arrange a callback.

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