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Royal Brisbane under fire for botched mastectomies

Photo: Brisbane hospital sued over breast surgery
Two women who were allegedly left with complications after bungled breast surgery are suing the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

Two women are suing a Brisbane hospital for allegedly botching their preventive surgeries for breast cancer.

Single mother-of-four Natasha Murrie, 43, and Michelle Cullen,52, have filed medical negligence compensation claims in the District Court in Brisbane against the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

They both underwent mastectomies and reconstructions and were allegedly left with deformities requiring invasive corrective surgeries.

Ms Murrie, who was at risk because she has the BRCA2 gene, said her mother died of breast cancer at 48 and she didn't want to suffer the same fate.
"But the surgery left me in agony and caused severe scarring, which has led to breast deformities and ongoing pain," she said.

"It's taken a huge toll on me physically and emotionally and has had an enormous impact on my family, who has had to support me throughout this difficult journey."

Ms Cullen, 52, who also has the BRCA2 gene, said she suffered ongoing complications and discomfort following several unsuccessful corrective procedures.

She was told that it could take two years for a qualified plastic surgeon to perform her reconstruction procedure following a double mastectomy, but another surgeon could operate within six months, so she went with the latter option.

"It never entered my mind that having surgery that was supposed to stop breast cancer from returning would jeopardise my quality of life," she said.

Olamide Kowalik, a senior associate with Slater and Gordon, the firm representing the women, said complaints had also been lodged with the state's health ombudsman.

"The devastation these women have experienced is evidence of the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to such surgeries, involving various medical departments, to ensure the best result is achieved," she said.

Comment from the hospital has been sought.

A Metro North Health and Hospital Service spokeswoman later said it was inappropriate to comment because the matter was before the courts.

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