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Woman Given Larger Breast Implants Then Expected Calls On Hospitals To Ensure Patients’ Wishes Are Honoured

14.06.2018

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A woman has called on hospital trusts to ensure they honour the wishes of patients after she awoke from a mastectomy operation to find she had received permanent replacement breast implants without her consent.

Donna Finegan-White, from Swindon, elected to undergo a double mastectomy to reduce the risk of her being diagnosed with breast cancer following a history of the disease in her family.

However, when the 44-year-old came round from her anaesthetic following her operation at The Great Western Hospital, she was shocked to discover that she had permanent implants. The implants were larger than the breasts she had elected to have removed.

Following the incident Donna instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the level of care she received from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust denied it had acted negligently but admitted the issue of whether Donna consented to the implants fell below ‘reasonable standards’.  It settled the matter out of court.

Donna has now joined her legal team at Irwin Mitchell in reminding NHS Trusts of the importance of upholding patient consent at all times.

Expert Opinion
Donna had undergone counselling at the request of the Hospital Trust to prepare psychologically for double mastectomy so was incredibly shocked and upset to come out of surgery with permanent implants. This was already a distressing time and this just compounded her problems.

“The NHS had shown care and compassion in helping Donna prepare for her surgery. However, what was meant to be an operation designed to reduce the risk of Donna being diagnosed with breast cancer ended up causing her much unnecessary distress and suffering.

“We now call on the NHS Trust to ensure it learns lessons from Donna’s case and realises the importance of ensuring policies and checks surrounding patient consent are upheld at all times.”
James Pink, Solicitor

Donna had consulted with her GP and surgeons about having her breasts removed after her mum was diagnosed, treated and survived breast cancer at age 50 and her aunt died from the disease when she was also aged 50.

Following recommendations from doctors she underwent the mastectomy on 14 October, 2014.

Donna said: “I expected to come out of the surgery risk free of breast cancer and without permanent implants as this is what had been agreed upon. Yet, I woke up with permanent implants which I had never signed for in the consultations with the surgeon. At this point, I felt shocked and very upset and frustrated as it was completely unexpected.”

Following the surgery Donna sought medical help several times for severe pain and swelling in her breasts and, for understandably, suffering a significant psychological reaction.

She finally underwent corrective surgery to remove the implants on 23 February, 2016. However, Donna had to undergo further emergency surgery to remove a blood clot that had developed following the removal of the implants which threatened her life.

Donna added: “We put a great deal of trust in medical staff, relying on them for expert care. I just feel totally let down and angry by the care I received.
 
“I suffered a great deal of pain and trauma for months because of the implants that I never signed up for.

“By speaking out I hope my story reminds hospitals of the importance of upholding patient consent.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling medical negligence cases.