The husband of a woman who was wrongly told she had breast cancer has accused doctors of ‘mutilating’ his wife after she was put through several rounds of unnecessary chemotherapy.
Sarah Boyle, 28, from Staffordshire, was misdiagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at Royal Stoke University Hospital at the end of 2016 when the person who examined her tissue samples wrongly identified cells as cancerous.
The mother, who has two children Teddy and Louis, first went to the doctors after having trouble breastfeeding, but was put through gruelling chemotherapy, which saw her lose most of her hair and left her drained after the misdiagnosis.
She also underwent a bilateral mastectomy – the surgical removal of both breasts – to ‘stop the cancer spreading’ and had reconstructive surgery to put breast implants in their place.
Medics only realised their error several months later in July 2017 – by which point the damage was already done.
Speaking in a new interview with Take a Break magazine, her husband Steven, 31, recalled the moment he was told about the misdiagnosis and said: ‘They mutilated you, Sarah. They cut you and poisoned you and you didn’t need any of it. You were never ill.’
Steven, 31, from Staffordshire, told of the moment his wife Sarah was informed she had been wrongly misdiagnosed with breast cancer. Pictured, Sarah with Steven and their son, Teddy in 2017
The 28-year-old (left, before the treatment and right, after) was put through several rounds of gruelling chemo, which saw her lose most of her hair. She also underwent a bilateral mastectomy – the surgical removal of both breasts – to stop the cancer spreading
Doctors only realised several months later that they had made a mistake, after Sarah had undergone chemotherapy. Pictured with Louis during her treatment
Sarah, who told how her ‘whole body started shaking’ after hearing the news, says Steven wouldn’t accept it and went to see a solicitor the next day.
‘I found it impossible to believe I’d never been ill,’ admitted Sarah. ‘I was terrified that the doctors were wrong about that, too, and scared that I was really dying.’
She went on to explain how she took every ache and pain as a sign she was still ill, and says her anxiety rocketed.
Now, two years on, Sarah, who has received the added blow that her breast implants puts her at risk of developing cancer in the future, is still suffering from the side-effects.
Doctors only realised several months later that they had made a mistake, after Sarah had undergone chemotherapy. Pictured with children Teddy and Louis
Sarah told how husband Steven (pictured )wouldn’t accept the news and went to see a solicitor the next day
Sarah Boyle (pictured with sons Teddy, right, and Louis) was left traumatised after bungling doctors misdiagnosed her with an aggressive form of breast cancer
‘I’m slowly getting stronger but I’ve been told that I may suffer from the side-effects of the chemo for up to five years. I will also need further surgery,’ she told the publication.
WHAT IS TRIPLE NEGATIVE BREAST CANCER?
A type of cancer that tests negative for the three most common receptors which normally fuel breast cancer, making them harder to target.
These results mean the growth of the cancer is not fueled by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, or by the HER2 protein.
So, triple-negative breast cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy medicines or medicines that target HER2 protein receptors.
It means more radical treatments are needed to target the cells.
About 10-20 per cent of breast cancers are triple-negative breast cancers.
As a result, despite the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust admitting liability and issuing an unreserved apology, it will be at least five years until they can calculate her compensation.
But she says no money will ever be enough for how much she has lost.
The blunder came when a histopathologist, who examines tissue samples for hospitals, misreported the cells as cancerous when they weren’t.
Her initial trip to the hospital was sparked when the recent mother became worried that her newborn Teddy would scream when she tried to feed him from her right breast.
Concerned, she went to her GP and was referred to hospital for a scan and a biopsy, which later led to the misdiagnosis.
A spokesman from University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust said at the time: ‘A misdiagnosis of this kind is exceptionally rare and we understand how devastating this has been for Sarah and her family.
‘In addition to an unreserved apology to Sarah, the findings of the investigation have been shared with her and the case is now part of an on-going legal claim with which the Trust is co-operating fully.
‘Ultimately the misreporting of the biopsy was a human error so as an extra safeguard all invasive cancer diagnoses are now reviewed by a second pathologist.
‘Sarah continues to be in regular contact with the clinical team who treated her and they are always available to discuss any on-going concerns she may have.’
Bungling medics at Royal Stoke University Hospital (pictured) misdiagnosed her at the end of 2016 and only realised their mistake in July 2017