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Compensation After Negligently Performed Mastectomy

Our medical negligence solicitors secured a settlement on behalf of Paul, a female to male gender reassignment patient who underwent a negligently performed mastectomy.

Paul had significant psychological support before undergoing a number of treatments and operations to change his gender identification.

In July 2009, Paul visited Lena Andersson, a consultant plastic surgeon at Anelca Clinic, Harley Street, to discuss what surgery he’d need. He was told about different surgical methods and, in particular, one that would involve small scars around the areola rather than a big scar on his chest.

Bilateral mastectomy

The following month, Paul had a bilateral mastectomy. He spent a night in hospital and was discharged after his drains had been taken out. Follow up appointments happened over the phone and via visits to the London clinic.

During these visits, staff removed blood-stained fluid from his right breast on two occasions and noted that he’d developed a scab on his left areola. He was told to wear a compression vest, which he did so during the day.

In November 2009, Paul visited Ms Andersson and it was decided that he was doing well. Some minor surgery was anticipated to make sure that the areola and nipples were the same size. This procedure took place in February 2010.

Further revision surgery

After these operations, Paul saw his psychiatrist in March 2010 and said he wasn’t happy with how his chest looked. Following a review in June 2010 with Ms Andersson, he had further revision surgery to his chest in the same month.

But Paul was still unhappy with the chest surgery and was referred by his GP to the plastic surgery team at Whiston Hospital. The medical staff at Whiston thought that Ms Andersson had removed too much tissue and that this had led to Paul’s chest having a concave appearance. Paul underwent further surgery on their recommendation in March 2011 at Whiston.

But the outline of Paul’s chest didn’t significantly and, in the summer of 2012, he had surgery to insert pectoral implants.

Significant scarring

Paul suffered serious scarring, a bad cosmetic outcome and psychological harm because of the poor results of the surgery. He contacted Sharon Williams, one of our medical negligence experts, to make a claim against Ms Andersson.

Investigations showed that Ms Andersson had used an inappropriate surgical technique for a gender reassignment patient. Her surgery had been more applicable to male gynecomastia (a condition that make men’s breasts larger than usual) than the removal of female breasts.

Because the primary care trust had commissioned the initial surgery, the NHS was liable for Ms Andersson’s work.

We issued proceedings against the NHS commissioning board and secured a settlement of £60,000, which will be partly used to complete Paul’s reconstructive and psychological treatments.

Sharon said: “I hope that the settlement will go some way to enabling Paul complete his gender reassignment process and start living the life he intended.”

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of surgical negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.

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