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Mom of two was misdiagnosed with cancer, endured chemo and surgery before the mistake was found

Published Jul 20th, 2019 2:34PM EDT
cancer misdiagnosis
Image: Pius Koller/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

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A mother-of-two from England was misdiagnosed with cancer three years ago, with doctors telling her she had a particularly aggressive form of the disease that would require intense treatment and surgery. It took months before the hospital realized the mistake.

The patient, Sarah Boyle, underwent chemotherapy and a double mastectomy before doctors realized that the test results had been erroneously reported. As it turns out, Boyle didn’t have cancer at all, but now that the hospital has admitted its mistake, she’s looking for more than a simple apology.

Boyle initially went to her doctor at Royal Stoke Hospital after having trouble breastfeeding. The hospital performed a scan and then a biopsy, ultimately delivering the devastating news that she had triple-negative breast cancer.

Triple-negative breast cancer has fewer treatment options than other forms, but accepting chemotherapy is still an option. To battle the disease, Boyle did just that, while also having a double mastectomy to remove supposedly cancerous tissue.

Months later, her doctor determined that Boyle never had cancer at all, and that the biopsy results originally misreported. The hospital admitted its mistake and offered an apology. Boyle and her lawyers are pursuing legal action.

Her claims include the obvious trauma and stress over the false diagnosis, but also the fact that he has been unable to breastfeed her youngest son due to the treatment and surgery. Additionally, the breast implants Boyle received during reconstruction may be linked to other forms of cancer, and the chemotherapy may have reduced her future fertility.

A trust that runs the hospital called the misdiagnosis “exceptionally rare” and noted that “all invasive cancer diagnoses are now reviewed by a second pathologist.”

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