A woman has sued a hospital trust after she woke from an operation to discover she had been given breast implants – without her consent.
Donna Finegan-White, 44, elected to undergo a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer due to a family history of the disease.
She expected to wake up without breasts but was horrified when she came round from her anaesthetic with implants.
They were even larger than the breasts she had elected to have removed at The Great Western Hospital – and she had to wait four months for them to be removed.
Distraught Donna, from Swindon, Wiltshire, even had to have further surgery to remove a life-threatening blood clot which developed following the second op.
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust denied acting negligently but admitted the issue of whether Donna consented fell below ‘reasonable standards’.
The claim was settled out of court.
Speaking about her ordeal for the first time, Donna said: “I expected to come out of the surgery risk free of breast cancer and without permanent implants as this is what had been agreed upon.
“Yet, I woke up with implants, which I had never signed for in the consultations with the surgeon.
“At this point, 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. I just feel totally let down and angry by the care I received.
“I suffered a great deal of pain and trauma for months because of the implants that I
never signed up for.
“By speaking out I hope my story reminds hospitals of the importance of upholding
Donna consulted with her GP and surgeons about having her breasts removed.
She made the decision after her mum was diagnosed, treated and survived breast cancer at age 50 and her aunt died from the disease when she was also aged 50.
Donna underwent the mastectomy in October 2014 following recommendations from doctors.
But she was left in severe pain and swelling in her breasts as well as “a significant psychological reaction” following the operation and unwanted augmentation.
Donna finally underwent corrective surgery to remove the implants in February
2016 and instructed Irwin Mitchell to take legal action.
Medical negligence lawyer James Pink said: “Donna had undergone counselling at the request of the Hospital Trust to prepare psychologically for double mastectomy so was incredibly shocked and upset to come out of surgery with implants she had not consented to.
“This was already a distressing time and this just compounded her problems. The NHS had shown care and compassion in helping Donna prepare for her surgery.
“However, 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.
“We now call on the NHS Trust to ensure it learns lessons from Donna’s case and
realises the importance of ensuring policies and checks surrounding patient consent
are upheld at all times.”
By Ben Gelblum and Laura Elvin