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Artist Receives Settlement After Losing Movement In Her Arm During Breast Cancer Surgery

Expert Lawyers Help Leicestershire Mum Get Access To Vital Physiotherapy


An artist and illustrator who lost most of the movement in her arm after a doctor severed vital nerves during routine breast cancer tests has welcomed assurances from the hospital where she was treated that lessons have been learnt, following their apology and payment of damages for the substandard care she received.

Margaret Gold, who used to be a professional illustrator, was deeply saddened when surgery at the Glenfield hospital in Leicester to test for breast cancer, went drastically wrong when a surgeon severed vital nerves in her armpit.

Specialist medical lawyers from Irwin Mitchell have now secured Margaret a settlement from The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, after it admitted responsibility for the operation, which led to the 70-year-old from Cosby losing a significant degree of function in her left arm and hand.

Anna Manning, from Irwin Mitchell’s Leicester consulting office who represented Margaret welcomed the £37,500 settlement and the assurances from the trust that other patients will be safeguarded in future.

She said: “This has been a difficult time for Margaret. She put her trust in doctors at Glenfield Hospital and sadly the surgery and aftercare she received was below standard.

Since the surgery she has not been able to use her left hand in the same way as before and she has struggled to carry on looking after herself and her home as she used to.

“The operation was meant to be a routine procedure but the mistake during surgery has had a major impact on Margaret’s life. It also took the hospital so long to refer Margaret for essential follow-up treatment that it was impossible to repair the damage.

“Now that they have admitted responsibility for her injury Margaret can continue to access the rehabilitation she needs. I am pleased for Margaret that the trust has acknowledged their mistakes and hope they will take steps to prevent incidents like this happening again in future.”

Margaret was eventually diagnosed with liver and colon cancer after the lump in her armpit turned out to be benign.
Margaret added: “I’ve had lots of physiotherapy and occupational therapy, which helped me regain some movement in my arm but I still have to wear splints to support my wrist.

“Since the operation I’ve not been able to carry on with my artwork, which has been heartbreaking for me because it is my passion.

“I also loved being out in my garden but I’m not strong enough anymore. It’s difficult to imagine how many day-to-day tasks are extremely difficult when you only have one good hand.

“To think this all could have been prevented is really upsetting but I’m relieved the trust has admitted they are at fault and have taken my case seriously so procedures can be put in place so that others don’t have to suffer like I have.”

Margaret, a mum of three grown up boys, first noticed a lump in the centre of her armpit in March 2009 and was referred to Glenfield Hospital for tests. However, they were not clear enough for doctors to diagnose her and she was told she would need to undergo investigative surgery, where the lump would either be completely removed or a sample taken for further tests to be carried out.

The operation took place in April 2009 and she was warned she may not be able to move her arm properly for a few days afterwards. When the movement in Margaret’s limp arm didn’t improve the surgeon admitted at a follow up appointment that she had cut nerves in Margaret’s armpit and that she may never regain the movement in her arm and hand again.

Further tests and examinations at the private Spire Leicester Hospital confirmed she had serious nerve damage and in September she underwent another operation at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore to help repair the damage.