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Trust Admits Liability For Delay In Diagnosing Breast Cancer

On 15 March 2004, Elaine Chapman found a lump in her right breast.  She immediately arranged to see her General Practitioner, who referred her to Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Elaine was in fact employed as a haematology nurse at Addenbrookes. A biopsy was taken and the biopsy report stated that the findings were of benign breast tissue and not of concern.

By May/June 2006, she was beginning to experience increasing back pain, which became progressively worse to the point that she was unable to walk.  An x-ray of the spine was performed and showed the collapse of a vertebra.  An immediate referral back to the Breast Clinic at Addenbrooke’s was arranged.  Ms Chapman attended the Breast Clinic and was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread into the bone of her vertebrae and pelvis.

The Trust admitted negligence for the misreporting of the biopsy in 2004. At that time Elaine was aged 29. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31 and given a life expectancy of 5 years. Had she been diagnosed in 2004, the cancer would have been treatable with no effect on her life expectancy.

The case settled for £525,000.  The figure achieved included compensation her for her pain and suffering, loss of earnings and funds to provide for the cost of her future care requirements.

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