Updated 17 February 2014

Woman 'mutilated' in unnecessary surgery wins R2.8 million case against Limpopo Health

Estelle Kunneke, who was misdiagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy – only to discover she was cancer-free all along – has won R2.8 million in damages against the Limpopo Department of Health.

A woman who was misdiagnosed with breast cancer won a R2.8 million damages case against the Limpopo Department of Health in the High Court in Pretoria, the Saturday Star reported.

Estelle Kunneke underwent a double mastectomy after she felt a lump on her breast when she fell and bruised it in 2005.

She consulted a doctor at the Voortrekker hospital in Mokopane and was later referred to the Oncology Centre at the Limpopo Academic hospital.

Double mastectomy

A general practitioner under the guise of an oncology specialist informed her that she was at stage four of breast cancer and that she had to undergo a double mastectomy, the newspaper reported.

Kunneke said that a biopsy was never performed and that the doctor only performed a needle aspiration.

She went to another doctor for a second opinion, when she realised that she was not getting worse during chemotherapy as expected. The doctor found that Kunneke had never had cancer and was misdiagnosed, the newspaper reported.

Pain and trauma

Kunneke, a beautician and former model told the newspaper that the she was unable to have reconstructive surgery to rectify the mastectomy as the muscles were gone and that there was just skin and bone.

"No amount of money can take away the pain and trauma I have endured," she said.

The department noted the court's decision, said spokesman Macks Lesufi said on Saturday.

Read more:

Woman gets R1.4m for unnecessary mastectomy

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