Nurse speaks of “anguish and horror” over being incorrectly diagnosed with “invasive” breast cancer

A hospice nurse from Barnsley has spoken of her “anguish and horror” at having to wait nine months for breast reconstruction surgery after being incorrectly diagnosed with “invasive” breast cancer.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 4:34 pm

Brenda Young of Hoylandsawine, was diagnosed with invasive cancer in her right breast, following a routine screening appointment and biopsy in February 2020 at Barnsley Hospital.

However, after undergoing a mastectomy in the same month, it was found that Brenda, 65, did not in fact have cancer.

Brenda was given the news in March, 2020, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic she had to wait until November to undergo reconstructive surgery

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Barnsley Hospital.
Barnsley Hospital.

Brenda said: “I was devastated and extremely worried when I received my diagnosis.

“ I was later advised that the samples taken showed that I didn’t have breast cancer at all. However, by this time it was too late and I had already undergone the mastectomy.

“I felt frustrated that I had undergone removal of my breast for a cancer that I didn’t have, but then had to wait so long for reconstruction.

“I was told about the fact that I didn’t have cancer around the time that the first lockdown started and therefore had to cope with my horror and anguish alone. This was incredibly difficult.

“I know nothing can make up for what has happened but by speaking out I just hope that I can try and help prevent what happened to me happening to others.”

Brenda received an apology from Barnsley Hospital NHS Trust after instructing expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care.

In a letter to Brenda, Jackie Murphy, Barnsley Hospital NHS Trust’s director of nursing and quality, wrote: “On behalf of the Trust I would like to apologise that on this occasion the standard of care you received fell below that which you had a right to expect.”

She added the Trust had identified “actions and learning” which will be monitored through its governance procedures.

Rebecca Hall, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Brenda, said: “The first-hand account we’ve heard from Brenda is truly shocking. Understandably what happened to Brenda has not only had a physical effect but also a psychological impact on her.

“We’re now investigating what happened to Brenda in more detail and are determined to help her access the specialist support she requires to come to terms with her ordeal.

“We welcome the Trust’s apology and pledge to learn lessons. Patient safety should always be the fundamental priority in all care.”

A serious incident report by the Trust found there was no evidenc” that Brenda had invasive cancer. It added a doctor did not seek a second opinion when analysing test results before Brenda’s diagnosis.