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Mother wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer has double mastectomy before doctors realise their mistake

Henry Bodkin
Sarah Boyle was unable to breast feed her second child thanks to the treatment - © Sarah Boyle /SWNS.COM

A mother who was wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy before the NHS hospital realised its mistake.

Sarah Boyle has been left traumatised after doctors at Royal Stoke University Hospital misdiagnosed her with triple negative breast cancer at the end of 2016.

The hospital only recognised the error several months later in July 2017, by which time the 28-year-old had already received several rounds of gruelling treatment and major surgery.

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The mother of two also had to cope with the knowledge that the breast implants may put her at added risk of developing cancer.

Her lawyers said the mistake occurred because a biopsy sample was incorrectly recorded.

Mrs Boyle has suffered psychological trauma as a result the ordeal and also continues to endure ongoing symptoms caused by the unnecessary treatment.

She was initially told that her cancer treatment may harm her fertility.

The patient was ultimately able to have a second child, who is now seven months old, but she was unable to breastfeed him due to the treatment.

The trust has since admitted liability and apologised to Mrs Boyle, although legal proceedings are continuing.

"The past few years have been incredibly difficult for me and my family,” she said.

"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.

"And while I was delighted when I gave birth to Louis, it was really heartbreaking when I couldn't breastfeed him.”

"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.”

Mrs Boyle worries her breast implants may increase her future cancer risk Credit: SWNS

The case emerged weeks after health chiefs warned that 11,000 patients a year may be dying as a result of NHS blunders.

A new strategy was unveiled last month with an aim of saving 1,000 lives a year within five years by ensuring all staff, however, junior, are trained to act if they spot risks.

Mrs Boyle was aged 25 when she was misdiagnosed.

She was later informed by her treating doctor, Mr Sankaran Narayanan, that her biopsy had been incorrectly reported and that she did not have cancer.

Sarah Sharples, from Irwin Mitchell solicitors, which is representing Mrs Boyle, 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.

A spokesman from the 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.

He added: “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.”

The trust said it had shared the findings of its investigation with Mrs Boyle.