The tragic loss of Kellee Harvey following mis-diagnosis of breast cancer

Price Slater Gawne solicitors has recently settled the case of the late Kellee Harvey; a 27 year old woman who sadly passed away in 2017, following the mis-diagnosis of breast cancer a year earlier.

In February 2016, Kellee visited her GP over concerns about a lump in her breast. She was referred to the breast clinic at Barnsley Hospital, where she was advised that the lump was a fibroadenoma and was nothing to worry about. Kellee was referred for an ultrasound scan to confirm this diagnosis, however, NHS Guidelines, which specify that a biopsy should also be taken, were not followed.

In April 2016, Kellee returned to see her GP as she was in pain and discomfort with the lump and decided to request for it to be removed. Whilst she had been advised by the hospital that any pain or discomfort of the lump was not a concern, her GP was of a different opinion. – Kellee was referred back to the breast clinic.

When she returned to the clinic, Kellee was seen by the same consultant, who following an examination referred her for an immediate ultrasound and biopsy. The lump in Kellee’s breast had increased in size significantly by the time of her appointment. – She had also noticed a change in the size of her breast and appearance of the skin around the lump.

When Kellee returned for the results two days later, she was told by the consultant that the biopsy had found that the nearly 2-inch lump was stage 3 cancer and that it had also spread to her lymph nodes. The cancer was so aggressive, and discovered so late, that Kellee began chemotherapy the following week.

In October 2016, she underwent a double mastectomy – whilst her cancer was only found to be in her left breast, she made the decision to have a double mastectomy as a precautionary measure. In December 2016, Kellee also commenced radiotherapy. Throughout her treatment, Kellee suffered significant side effects. – She had hot flushes, a change in taste, dehydration but also suffered emotionally from changes in her appearance following the loss of her hair and the mastectomy surgery.

In December 2016, Kellee found a further lump in her neck. She had to demand that a biopsy was taken, as no action was planned. Within 2 days of finding the lump, Kellee was advised that it was cancerous. She continued with radiotherapy treatment but was advised that due to the location of the lump, it could not be removed.

In March 2017, Kellee returned to the hospital for a CT scan, following which she was advised that the cancer had spread to her lungs. The cancer spread to her brain, eventually being reclassified as Stage 4.

In May 2017, Kellee sadly passed away.

Kellee’s parents took over the case, focused on finding the answers to what had happened to their only daughter, which led to her untimely death.

Kellee’s case was settled for a financial sum and letter of apology was sent to her parents. – Whilst this will by no means assist them with the loss of their daughter, knowledge that an investigation has taken place, will provide some closure to them.

Regarding this case, Andrew Harrison commented:

“Kellee’s case is sadly one of a number of mis-diagnosed breast cancer cases that I have been instructed to investigate at Barnsley Hospital. Cases such as this are terribly sad, avoidable, and when they result from something as clear and obvious as failing to follow the hospital’s own guidelines, completely inexplicable. This was not a difficult diagnosis, the only reason that this cancer was overlooked is that someone cut a corner rather than doing their job properly. It is also far from being the first time this has happened. Deaths have certainly occurred from the Trust’s failure to learn from these errors.

It is also indefensible that as we investigated this case we discovered that the hospital had known that there were other errors made with regards to the diagnosis, which had been kept from her despite a serious untoward incident investigation and report having identified them.

I am pleased to have assisted Kellee’s family in achieving some closure, following the terrible loss of their daughter”.