A woman who was forced to have a breast removed months after routine screening failed to detect cancer has won a substantial pay-out from one of London’s biggest NHS trusts.
Penny Morgan, 64, a school learning assistant from West Drayton, said she felt “vindicated” after Imperial College NHS trust apologised and paid undisclosed “five figure” compensation following the “misreported” mammogram.
She had been given the all clear in March 2010 after tests at West London Breast Screening mobile unit in Hayes but five months later underwent a mastectomy to remove a Grade II 2.3cm carcinoma.
She brought a legal challenge claiming that the initial mammogram had shown a visible mass that should have led to a re-examination. Her lawyers argued this could have prevented the need for the mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
In an agreed settlement, Imperial accepted the screening had found evidence justifying re-examination of Mrs Morgan’s breast.
Mrs Morgan told the Standard: “It should never have happened. I think probably they don’t want to recall people and worry them unnecessarily, but in taking that route they are missing people.
“What I wanted from the beginning was an apology and an explanation. I still don’t know what went wrong. All they have admitted was that there was evidence on the X-ray that meant I should have been recalled.
“I just knew there was something wrong and wasn’t going to be fobbed off. It’s taken four years. It’s been absolutely worth it – I feel vindicated. Hopefully they will have learned something.”
The mother of three, who also has a young grandchild, had noticed a small indentation beneath her breast on holiday several months later “by sheer chance”.
er brother had died of cancer two months earlier so she visited her GP. Subsequent private treatment confirmed that she had cancer and that a mastectomy was her only option.
“I was devastated and confused to be told that not only did I have breast cancer, but that a mastectomy was my only choice at this stage,” she said. “A mastectomy is a brutal operation and one I may never have had to experience had my mammogram been read correctly.”
Her lawyer Trevor Ward, from Linder Myers Solicitors, said: “A mastectomy is a serious and painful operation and could have been avoided had medical staff correctly reported that a visible mass was showing.”
Imperial said in a statement: “We apologise sincerely and unreservedly for the experience Mrs Morgan had with our service.
“Mrs Morgan had a form of breast cancer which is notoriously difficult to diagnose via mammography and unfortunately on this occasion it was not detected.
“We are constantly looking at how we can improve our breast cancer screening services and the safety and care of our patients remains the trust’s top priority.”