A woman who tried to sue her GP for £940,000 for damages after they missed a breast cancer diagnosis has been branded dishonest by a judge.
Sara Iddon attended an appointment with Dr Karen Warner in January 2014 and complained about a lump in her left breast, a court heard.
The GP recorded there was “no discrete lump” and reassured the woman, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Eight months later, the woman from Preston, Lancashire, had another appointment at the same medical practice but with a different doctor, saying she noticed a change in the shape of her left breast.
After having a mammogram, Mrs Iddon was diagnosed with breast cancer and on December 30, she had surgery and breast reconstruction.
Manchester Evening News)
Later, the woman had chemotherapy and radiotherapy and between December 2015 and October 2016, she underwent lipo modelling of her reconstructed left breast.
In June 2017, Mrs Iddon made a claim of damages for £76,000 saying she had suffered avoidable pain, loss of amenity, and reduced movement in her left arm.
In September 2017, a consultant psychologist saw Mrs Iddon and wrote: “She no longer runs but does try to swim a bit in the swimming pool.
“However this is not anywhere near the level she was at prior to the alleged negligence…she used to swim for miles.”
In November that year, a consultant in pain medicine examined her and recorded: “The pain is constant, severe, agonising, aching, sharp, throbbing, tingling, and horrible in character.”
He added: “Mrs Iddon was fit and she used to run four times a week as well as she had training for a half marathon that she took part in.
“She used to swim in open waters as well as take her dog for a walk. She cannot do these leisure activities now because of a lack of fitness and tiredness.”
However, Manchester High Court heard Mrs Iddon had taken part in a nighttime open water swim the month before.
By December 2018, Mrs Iddon had increased her damages claim to £200,000 alleging she was suffering from “severe chronic post-surgical pain and associated dysesthesia and numbness in the left chest wall, left shoulder/arm ad both hips causing severe disability, fatigue, and psychological injury.”
In May 2019, Mrs Iddon served a total claim of £941,182,03 including for loss of past and future earnings and care.
On July 1, 2019, Dr Warner made an open admission of liability and a district judge ordered the defendant to make an interim payment of £100,000.
However, despite admitting breach of duty, the GP later alleged that Mrs Iddon’s claim should be dismissed because she had been fundamentally dishonest in relation to the claim, and the judge agreed.
An intelligence analyst, Mr Richard Vaughan, said that on September 2, 2016, Chris Barnes, Mrs Iddon’s brother, posted on Facebook : “Sara is not a victim but a fighter carrying on with her life running and swimming like she did before.”
In addition, it was revealed that on November 1, 2017, Sara Iddon posted on Facebook: “Fantastic night swim with Christine, Swimease 30/10/17, brilliantly organised and really good fun.”
A Google search revealed that Sara Iddon finished 45th in the Great North Swimrun 2018 which took place on June 9, 2018 and that she and Andrew Iddon finished 100th and 101st in the Great Scottish Swim Aquathon which took place on August 25, 2018.
Mrs Iddon first denied she had taken part in any events, but later admitted it.
She stated that she acquired CBD hemp oil and a substance she believed to be cannabis oil to cope with the effects of breast cancer.
She claimed that with the aid of these substances, she was able to participate in eight sporting events.
In a new court statement, Mrs Iddon failed to mention she had taken part in another event – a 10k run on May 14, 2017 at Worden Park.
In his judgement, HHJ Sephton, said he found that Mrs Iddon “deliberately omitted to refer to the Worden Park run” as she thought she had got away with not revealing it.
He also added: “I reject the submission that the consumption of either hemp oil or cannabis oil had any effect at all on Mrs Iddon’s performance in the sporting events in which she took part.
“I find that when she took part in those sporting events, she performed without the aid of these substances.”
He said: “I conclude that, by the incomplete or frankly misleading accounts Mrs Iddon gave to the medical experts, she intended to mislead the court about her capabilities.
“By the standards of ordinary decent people, her actions were dishonest. What is more, I believe that Mrs Iddon knew that they were dishonest.
“The effect of her lies was to seek to inflate the value of a case which I have held to be worth just over £70,000 into a case worth over £900,000.
“I regard Mrs Iddon’s dishonesty in this case to be very grave.
“She lied repeatedly about her injuries, she continued to lie after she had been found out and, most seriously, she persuaded others to lie on her behalf.
“Mrs Iddon suffered serious and distressing consequences because of the defendant’s breach of duty. Regrettably, she lied about how serious her condition was, and persuaded others to lie to support her account.
“I feel unable to rely on Mrs Iddon’s evidence; I have been forced to look to other sources of information.
“It may be that the evidence I feel able to rely on is incomplete so that some of the losses Mrs Iddon suffered have not been taken into account.
“If that is so, she only has herself to blame. I conclude that Mrs Iddon has been fundamentally dishonest in relation to her claim. I am not persuaded that she would suffer substantial injustice if I were to dismiss her claim.
“I record that, but for the dismissal of her claim, I would have awarded Mrs Iddon £70,050.32.”
Mrs Iddon used the interim payment to buy a house, but may now be forced to repay it.