Woman sues over breast cancer error

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A woman who had a succession of unnecessary operations after being misdiagnosed as suffering from breast cancer launched a High Court action for damages yesterday.

A woman who had a succession of unnecessary operations after being misdiagnosed as suffering from breast cancer launched a High Court action for damages yesterday.

Jennifer Cormack, 63, says she left a career as a child nurse manager, with responsibility for 200 employees, because of the stress of what she believed was a terminal condition.

After she was wrongly told she had breast cancer by a doctor at The London Hospital in December 1985, Mrs Cormack, who had a history of benign breast lumps, underwent a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, a partial thryroidectomy and two hernia operations. She also had a full hysterectomy after problems with the cancer drug Tamoxifen.

Not until nine years later - in November 1994 - did she discovered that there was nothing wrong with her.

Two years earlier, in the belief that she had a short time left alive, she retired from her job with good promotion and pension prospects and moved to a more peaceful life in Norfolk with her third husband, David.

She told Mr Justice Buckley at the High Court in London: "I thought I had a short life span. I was quite determined to make the most of the time I had left."

Mrs Cormack, of Kenninghall, Norwich is suing East London and the City Health Authority for negligent treatment, and claiming damages in excess of £346,000. The authority has admitted liability and causation but is disputing the amount of compensation due.

The case continues today.

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