28/04/2015 06:33 BST | Updated 28/06/2015 06:12 BST

Mum Told She Had Never Had Cancer - Four Days After Breast Cancer Surgery


A hospital has apologised to a mum who had breast cancer surgery only to discover four days later she had never even had the disease.

Elizabeth Dawes, 39, was told she had a Grade 3 invasive tumour in her breast by staff at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, where she also worked as a nurse.

She had a lumpectomy and bilateral breast lift at the health unit.

But four days later was told she'd been misdiagnosed – because of a 'mix-up' with notes.

Elizabeth, who has an 18-year-old son, has been left so traumatised by the ordeal she said she has been forced to give up her job at the hospital and is taking legal action against Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

She has been left in 'a lot of pain' and has scarring.

The hospital has admitted liability and apologised for the error and unnecessary surgery.

Elizabeth, from Stafford, told The Times: "I am absolutely appalled at what I have been through and I am still struggling to comprehend how this could even happen.

"To be told you are facing aggressive cancer in your 30s is devastating and, of course, I feared the worst and began making plans for my child and getting finances in order.

"I was willing to undergo whatever treatment it took to fight the cancer so when I was told I needed surgery, I didn't think twice.

"The doctor also told me I would need a bilateral breast lift to cosmetically improve the shape of my breasts, as otherwise, after having the cancer surgery I would be left deformed.

"I was very sore after the operation and shocked by the extensive scarring, so to be recalled four days later to be told none of it was necessary was truly horrendous.

"I am still in pain now, have lost a lot of sensation in my breasts and the scarring has not improved, which hugely affects my self-confidence."

Elizabeth's lawyer, Louise Hawkley, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: "This is a truly shocking case that has left Elizabeth appalled at the unnecessary heartache and extensive scarring she has suffered as a result of being wrongly told that she had breast cancer.

"There are also very serious patient safety concerns about the 'mix-up'."

A spokesman for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust said: "The Medical Director and Nurse Director met with Ms Dawes to offer her an unreserved apology for this terrible error and inform her of the Trust's investigation into the incident.

"The findings of the investigation were shared with Ms Dawes and a further apology offered at that time. The incident is now part of an ongoing legal claim with which the Trust is co-operating fully.

"The Trust can confirm that no other patient received inappropriate treatment as a result of this incident."

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