One of the 26 women recalled by Stoke Hospital following concerns patients were mistreated by an alleged negligent surgeon is speaking out about her experience amid fears more women may be at risk.

The Stafford woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2015. Despite attending annual mammograms since 2011, the surgeon in question – who has so far remained unnamed – told her she may have had the cancer for three years.

She was given a mastectomy and a skin-saving prosthesis at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

However, six weeks after the procedure, the prosthesis and skin re-graft began to weep. At the height of the issue, her dressings required changing daily and at one point was so bad that she was advised by a nurse to attend A + E.

A later visit to the consultant confirmed that she would require further surgery to treat the wound and replace the prosthesis which had collapsed. This second surgical procedure delayed her sessions of chemotherapy by six weeks, and has left her with bad scarring.

In January 2016, the woman received a letter from University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust informing her that they were carrying out an investigation following concerns that she and 25 other women ‘may have been harmed’ by procedures carried out by a male surgeon at Stoke Hospital.

She has since been advised that reconstructive surgery should not have been carried out until 12 months after the course of radiotherapy was completed and that her skin should never have been re-grafted as this exposed her to further risk from cancerous cells.

The former patient of the surgeon is now seeking legal advice from medical negligence experts at Thompsons Solicitors.

She said: “A diagnosis of cancer is disturbing enough, without the added devastation of knowing that the treatment I was given might have been negligent. As you can imagine, it causes me a huge amount of anxiety. When I wrote a letter of complaint to the hospital, their response was unsatisfactory to say the least – they must act now and tell us exactly what negligence they suspect has taken place.

“I have been lucky that I have the unyielding support of friends, family and the team at Thompsons Solicitors but I hate to think of women who might be going through this alone. I urge anyone who thinks they might have been affected to seek independent advice immediately.”

Louise Hepplestone, a medical negligence solicitor at Thompsons commented: “What we’ve heard from our client and other ladies is deeply disturbing. There are at least 26 women who have been recalled but in our experience of dealing with these matters, the initial recall is often only the tip of the ice-berg and there may be many more concerned and affected patients who are so far not getting answers.

“A full investigation by the Royal Stoke University Hospital is underway but we are concerned that ex-patients of the surgeon in question may need further treatment which must not be delayed. Thompsons Solicitors is dedicated to supporting anybody affected by medical negligence and will be fighting to make sure they are recompensed for any suffering caused.”