We represented a client who was misdiagnosed as having a tubular carcinoma of the breast which resulted in her undergoing a needless mastectomy. Following this mastectomy, our client underwent regular follow-ups to ensure the "cancer" had not returned. It was not until approximately twenty years following her mastectomy when she asked her GP whether her daughter should be receiving regular mammograms in light of the family history of cancer, that it became apparent that she had been misinformed and that she had, in fact, never had cancer.
A professor of histopathology was sent some, but not all of the relevant tissue blocks. Following examination of this tissue, our expert was able to confirm that, in his opinion, a diagnosis of tubular carcinoma was an unreasonable diagnosis to have made in the circumstances.
The Defendant admitted, in response to our Letter of Claim, that their pathologist had wrongly interpreted our client's tissue sample and that this amounted to a breach of duty. They went on to admit that our client would not have undergone a mastectomy but for this breach, however, they disputed our client's date of knowledge, indicating that she was out of time for issuing proceedings. A Claimant only has three years from the date of injury or three years from their date of knowledge in which to issue proceedings. If proceedings are not issued within those three years then they are statute barred from issuing proceedings and, thus, left without a remedy. They attached copies of our client's medical records which they alleged were good evidence that our client acquired knowledge of their error prior to the date we were suggesting. We did not accept this and, having taken further instructions from our client, this was supported by the fact that she had continued to attend reviews to ensure that the cancer had not returned, after the date when the Defendant alleged that she had knowledge that she had not in fact had cancer. The Defendant initially made a low offer. After negotiation, a further offer was made in the sum of £40,000, which our client accepted.
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