A mother in the U.K. sued a hospital for giving her permanent breast implants she did not request after undergoing a preventative double mastectomy. The procedure to have them later removed put her life in danger.
Donna Finegan-White of Swindon, Wiltshire had the first procedure in October 2014 because her mother and aunt were diagnosed with breast cancer when they reached 50. She wanted "temporary tissue expanders," which would be placed under her skin to stretch the skin and her pectoral muscle, reports The Mirror.
However, when she awoke from the procedure, she realized she had permanent implants bigger than her original breasts. She claims she had "severe pain" after the operation, which also caused a "significant psychological reaction."
The 44-year-old mother of two had the implants for 16 months before she could finally have the procedure to get them removed. But the procedure was not as easy as she thought it would be as she developed a blood clot.
"I expected to come out of the surgery risk free of breast cancer and without permanent implants. That is what had been agreed upon. Yet, I woke up with implants, which I had never signed for," Finegan-White told SWNS. “I felt shocked and very upset and frustrated as it was completely unexpected. We put a great deal of trust in medical staff, relying on them for expert care."
Finegan-White said she feels "totally let down and angry by the care I received," as it led to a "great deal of pain and trauma for months."
Finegan-White sued the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the case was settled out of court in 2016. The trust denied acting inappropriately and insisted Finegan-White did sign off for the implants, but said the case was below "reasonable standards."
"We have clear and effective consent processes that are followed across the Trust, which outline the risks that patients may face during and after any surgery, including the common risk of blood clots," a spokeswoman for the trust told The Mirror. "Based on this case we are further strengthening our consent processes.”
James Pink, the medical negligence lawyer who represented Finegan-White in the case, said he hoped her story will bring light to the importance of getting a patient's consent before operating.
Pink told SWNS the mistake made an already "distressing time" worse for Finegan-White.
"What was meant to be an operation designed to reduce the risk of Donna being diagnosed with breast cancer ended up causing her much unnecessary distress and suffering," Pink said. “We now call on the NHS Trust to ensure it learns lessons from Donna’s case and realizes the importance of ensuring policies and checks surrounding patient consent are upheld at all times.”