Woman wins clinical negligence compensation after ‘botched’ operation

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Posted 09/05/2010

A woman has successfully claimed compensation for clinical negligence after a breast reconstruction operation went wrong.

Yvonne Laidlaw, 57, had the procedure at the Royal Bolton Hospital at the same time as her mastectomy in September 2003, the Daily Mail attests.

However, she was left with one side of her chest higher and significantly smaller than the other.

After an independent report criticised the operation for being “woefully inadequate” and “a cosmetic disaster”, the victim decided to seek compensation for the NHS trust she held responsible for making her feel “like a freak show”.

Now, the trust has agreed to an out-of-court settlement of £37,000, although it has not admitted liability for the errors.

“I’m pleased with the settlement but this case was never about money for me. I just wanted to be heard – and to be put right,” Ms Laidlow said.

Trefine Maynard, a clinical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal, comments: “It is inexcusable to leave a woman with grossly mismatched breasts following a reconstruction operation.

“It is not difficult to ‘match’ one breast to the other and when, as here, someone is left with an obvious discrepancy between the breasts it is quite usual for the woman to be left feeling “a freak”. It must be particularly devastating when the reconstruction follows a mastectomy which in any event would be traumatic.

“The victim would have been both vulnerable and traumatised by the initial surgery and to be faced with what has been termed “a cosmetic disaster” will have been devastating.

“All too often there are cases brought for women being left with unacceptable outcomes following cosmetic surgery on breasts and it is hard to explain how those operating can make such obvious errors. To do so on a woman in these circumstances is particularly cruel.”

Statistics from Cancer Research UK show that breast cancer is now the most common form of the condition in the UK.


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