£70,000 compensation for unnecessary surgery

A 68 year old man was awarded £70,000 compensation in 2014 for unnecessary surgery and the permanent effects it caused after treatment at a hospital a year earlier.

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Case details

The treatment was carried out as a result of a medical misdiagnosis of a biopsy.

Injury details

In 2013 the claimant was referred to hospital following a health check at his GP practice. His PSA level had been raised, a possible indicator of prostate cancer.

The claimant, a 68-year-old man, received £70,000 after he underwent an unnecessary prostatectomy in May 2013. He was unable to sustain an erection and suffered urinary incontinence.

Biopsy tests suggested prostate cancer as a diagnosis. A bone scan performed three weeks later showed no symptoms of cancer present. An MRI scan four days later showed no obvious tumour but a slight abnormality in the prostate itself.

A diagnosis was made based on the initial biopsy results and a note of the MRI scan result was made. A recommendation of either radiotherapy or surgery was made.

Six weeks after the MRI scan the claimant had laparoscopic surgery to remove his prostate.

One week after the surgery the original biopsies were reviewed at the hospital laboratory. It was discovered that the original test results were wrong and there was no evidence of cancer.

The original biopsy sample had been labelled incorrectly in the laboratory. The claimant had not been suffering cancer. The operation had been entirely unnecessary.

As a result of the surgery the claimant was left impotent and incontinent. The incontinence gradually improved and would continue to improve over time with a medical exercise regime. The impotence would be permanent.


The hospital failed to provide treatment at a competent level. It was alleged the hospital was negligent in inaccurately labelling the biopsy tests.

Cancer diagnosis was made on the basis of the laboratory tests. The hospital failed to consider the bone scan and MRI test results appropriately.

As a result the hospital recommended unnecessary surgery to remove the claimant's prostate.

The surgery left permanent serious symptoms. The claimant's quality of life would be seriously affected.

Conclusion and settlement

Liability was admitted and the matter was settled without progressing to Court.

£70,000 compensation was accepted by way of an out of Court settlement.

The sum of £63,000 was awarded for "pain, suffering and loss of amenity."

£6,000 of the damages was awarded for past and future care needed.

The remaining £1,000 related to travel, equipment and miscellaneous costs.

Read more: clinical negligence compensation claims

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher