Woman claims she was given breast implants without consent after undergoing double mastectomy

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Donna Finegan-White, 44, underwent a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer, but never gave her doctor consent for breast implants.

Donna Finegan-White, 44, underwent a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer, but never gave her doctor consent for breast implants.

 (SWNS)

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 the anesthesia wore off and she discovered implants.

Finegan-White claims they were even larger than the breasts she had elected to have removed at The Great Western Hospital – and that she had to wait four months for them to be removed.

Finegan-White, from Swindon, Wiltshire, then had to have another surgery to remove a life-threatening blood clot which developed following the second operation.

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust denied acting negligently but admitted the issue of whether Finegan-White consented fell below “reasonable standards.”

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The claim was settled out of court.

“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,” she said. “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,” Finegan-White said. “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,” Finegan-White, who underwent the first procedure in October 2014, said. “By speaking out I hope my story reminds hospitals of the importance of upholding patient consent.”

Finegan-White consulted with her GP and surgeons about having her breasts removed after her mom was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer at age 50. While her mother’s treatment was succesful, Finegan-White’s aunt died from the disease at the same age. 

Donna underwent the mastectomy 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.

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Donna finally underwent corrective surgery to remove the implants in February 2016 and instructed Irwin Mitchell to take legal action.

“Donna had undergone counseling 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,” James Pink, a medical negligence lawyer, said. “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,” he 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.”

The Trust has been approached for comment.

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