BREAST cancer sufferers misdiagnosed by an Accrington radiologist will require surgery, the solicitor suing for seven of the affected women has revealed.
The women, several of whom are from Hyndburn, are "reeling with shock and anger" according to Emma Holt, head of clinical negligence at Pannone LLP.
In September East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that 18 women given the all clear at Accrington Victoria hospital had cancer, after a review of 355 scans dating back to 2005.
Last week we named a radiologist under investigation as Dr Glenn Anthony Kelly and reported his 18-month suspension from breast assessment work by the General Medical Council.
He could yet be struck off if the case is taken to a fitness to practise hearing.
Ms Holt said: "Some women are having surgery - across the 18. Some might need a mastectomy and some might need a lumpectomy.
"But our cases all differ. Some were delayed by weeks, some are months, and some are years."
She added: "At the moment we are very much at the beginning of the investigations. People are just getting over the shock of finding out their diagnoses were clear - and then they weren’t. The message has to go out that people have to get their treatment first."
Claims are expected to run into tens of thousands of pounds per patient, dependent on the impact of the delay on prognosis. The highest costs could be incurred by the Trust if there is a loss of earnings claim should a high-earning woman die.
The same law firm won compensation claims in a previous case in Trafford, Manchester, with ‘frighteningly similar parallels’.
Of 28 cases misdiagnosed by radiologist Dr Amjad Husien, 20 were found to have malignant cancer and one later died. Dr Husien is no longer registered to practise as a doctor in the UK.
"The Trafford cases are very similar in that one radiologist was reviewing the scans," Ms Holt said.
"The concern I have is if one person is doing it and is not properly reviewed. There was an independent review of what happened in Trafford which concluded that there was a lack of a multidisciplinary team ethic in Trafford with one radiologist making a repeat mistake."
Trust medical director Rineke Schram said: "If any women or families involved wish to seek compensation we would work with them and their legal representatives to ensure this is progressed through the appropriate channels.
"It is unfortunately not possible to state with certainty whether the delay in treatment has affected the prognosis other than to state that early stage breast cancers have a good prognosis."