Sarah Boyle, a mother-of-two from Staffordshire has been left traumatised after bungling doctors wrongly told her she had breast cancer and put her through several rounds of unnecessary chemotherapy.
Mrs Boyle was misdiagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer at Royal Stoke University Hospital at the end of 2016 when the person who examined her tissue samples wrongly identified cells as cancerous.
She was put through gruelling chemotherapy, which saw her lose most of her hair and left her drained.
She also underwent a bilateral mastectomy – the surgical removal of both breasts – to ‘stop cancer spreading’ and had reconstructive surgery to put breast implants in their place, Daily Mail reports.
Medics only realised their error several months later in July 2017 – by which point the damage was already done.
The blunder came when a histopathologist, who examines tissue samples for hospitals, misreported the cells as cancerous when they weren’t.
Mrs Boyle has since received the added blow that her breast implants put her at risk of developing cancer in the future.
She says she is still dealing with the psychological trauma caused by the ordeal.
Mrs Boyle, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, 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.
‘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.’
Mrs Boyle was initially told her cancer treatment may lead to fertility issues, but fortunately, she went on to have her second child, Louis, who is now seven-months-old.
But she said was ‘heartbroken’ that she couldn’t breastfeed him due to her treatments.
Mrs Boyle hired specialist medical negligence lawyers who have now secured an admission of liability from University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.
Sarah Sharples, a legal expert at Irwin Mitchell solicitors who are 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 from University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust said: ‘A misdiagnosis of this kind is exceptionally rare and we understand how devastating this has been for Sarah and her family.
‘In addition to an unreserved apology to Sarah, the findings of the investigation have been shared with her and the case is now part of an on-going legal claim with which the Trust is co-operating fully.
‘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 on-going concerns she may have.’