Hospital ‘Mix-Up’ Meant Woman Given Breast Cancer Surgery Despite Not Having The Disease

Specialist Medical Negligence Lawyers Secure Admission From NHS Trust


A devastated mother was told she had invasive breast cancer and underwent surgery to remove what she was led to believe was a cancerous tumour, only to be told just days later there had been a ‘mix-up’ and she never actually had the disease.

Elizabeth Dawes, 39, from Stafford is speaking out for the first time of her ‘horrendous’ ordeal and fears that other women may have been put at risk, as staff at New Cross Hospital told her they had mixed up three patients’ notes.

She instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how it was possible for the error to happen and the firm has now secured an admission of liability from the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust for the misdiagnosis and the unnecessary surgery which was performed.

The mum-of-one was told results from a right breast biopsy in July 2013 revealed Grade 3 invasive cancer that needed treating immediately with surgery and chemotherapy.  Four days after undergoing surgery, Elizabeth was advised that there had been a mix-up and that she had never had cancer.

Elizabeth said: “I am absolutely appalled at what I have been through and am still struggling to comprehend how this could even happen.

“To be told you are facing aggressive cancer in your 30s is devastating and of course, I feared the worst and began making plans for my child and getting finances in order.

“I was willing to undergo whatever treatment it took to fight the cancer so when I was told I needed surgery, I didn’t think twice. The doctor also told me I would need a bilateral breast lift to cosmetically improve the shape of my breasts, as otherwise, after having the cancer surgery I would be left deformed.

“I was very sore after the operation and shocked by the extensive scaring, so to be recalled four days later to be told none of it was necessary was truly horrendous.

“I am still in pain now, have lost a lot of sensation in my breasts and the scarring has not improved which hugely affects my self-confidence.

“Nothing can make up for what has happened but I am determined to see justice done and feel I at least deserve an official apology from the Trust given the huge impact this has had on my life.” 

If you have suffered due to misdiagnosed breast cancer or a delayed breast cancer diagnosis, our medical negligence lawyers could help you claim compensation. Call 0808 163 4557 for a free initial consultation or see our Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims page for more details.