‘I’ve been through medical torture…’ – NHS blunder mum, 28, backs new report after Royal Stoke wrongly diagnosed her with breast cancer

NHS blunder mum Sarah Boyle has backed a study which finds artificial intelligence diagnoses breast cancer more accurately than medics – after doctors wrongly said she had the condition.

The 28-year-old had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and reconstructive surgery after being given the 2016 bombshell diagnosis at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

But months later the mother-of-two was told her biopsy had been incorrectly reported – and she did not have cancer.

Now University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust – which runs the Royal Stoke – has admitted liability after accepting the misdiagnosis was down to ‘human error’.

It comes as medical journal Nature has published research which suggests artificial intelligence (AI) is more accurate than doctors in diagnosing breast cancer from mammograms.




The study designed and trained a computer model on the X-ray images of around 29,000 women. It was found that  the computer programme outperformed six radiologists in interpreting mammogram results.

It showed that AI was as good as two doctors working together. The NHS currently uses a system where two radiologists analyse radiology. If they disagree on the findings a third doctor assesses the images.

Sarah lives in Stoke-on-Trent with her 31-year-old husband, Steven, and sons Teddy and Louis. 

Sarah said: “It is still so difficult to try to describe what has happened to me. To be told you have cancer was hard enough to take in. But then to be told after months of horrific treatment that it was all unnecessary is something I’m not sure I’ll ever fully come to terms with. 

“It’s not just the physical effects that I have been left with but also the mental torture of what I’ve been through.

“A misdiagnosis of cancer can ruin people’s lives and some people may not be as fortunate to survive. 

“It is vital to raise awareness of the consequences that families can be left to face because of errors. Anything that helps to reduce the number of people affected by a misdiagnosis or allows others to receive treatment more quickly has to be welcomed.”



Specialist medical negligence legal firm Irwin Mitchell has investigated Sarah’s case.

Lawyer Sarah Sharples said: “What Sarah and her family have had to endure is truly shocking and the effect of what happened continues to impact on their lives. 

“Sarah has suffered significant psychological trauma as a result of what she has been through, and also continues to endure ongoing symptoms caused by her treatment. 

“The use of technology should not replace human input but technological advances that can complement and assist medical professionals to improve care and lessen waiting times and anxiety for patients should be welcomed. While this research is in its infancy the results of this study appear to be very promising. 

“We are continuing to support Sarah to help her try to come to terms with what happened to her the best she can.”


Written by Rob Andrews for Stoke on Trent Live – See full original article here


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