Court hears woman’s case over alleged delay to cervical cancer diagnosis
Posted on 11th October 2022 at 20:57
The woman claims she is entitled to very significant damages for alleged injuries to her physical and mental health
A 36-year-old woman who claims her smear test taken under the CervicalCheck screening programme was misreported and there was an alleged three-year delay in diagnosing her cervical cancer has sued in the High Court.
The woman, who cannot be named by order of the court, claims she had to have two procedures for her cancer and claims she is entitled to very significant damages for alleged injuries to her physical and mental health.
Her counsel, Jeremy Maher SC, with Patrick Treacy SC and instructed by Cian O’Carroll solicitors, told the court the Health Service Executive has admitted a breach of duty in relation to the reporting of a 2013 smear sample taken from the woman under the national screening programme.
The HSE has further admitted a breach of duty in relation to a failure to disclose results of an audit of that slide four years later which indicated that the original reports of negative for malignancy were incorrect. The HSE has denied all other claims.
Counsel said it is their case that if the 2013 slide had been correctly read, the woman would have been referred for a colonoscopy and a surgical procedure known as Lletz and the abnormal cells could have been completely excised.
Instead, he said, “a mistake was made” and she had to undergo very significant procedures to treat her cancer. It is their case that the alleged delay in diagnosis lead to the woman having to have a second Lletz procedure and the procedures in turn reduced the size of her cervix.
The woman’s cancer was diagnosed in 2016 and it was at an early stage. Counsel said while the follow-up was good from the medical point of view and she was cancer-free, there were consequences to having the second procedure.
He said it has affected every aspect of her life and she is not the person she was.
The woman who was in court with her husband has sued the HSE.
It is claimed her cancer was allowed to develop and spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the summer of 2016. It is further claimed that there was a failure to advise her in a timely manner of the results of a review of her 2013 smear sample.
Mr Maher said it is their case that the woman is entitled to very significant damages for the injuries to her physical and mental health and for the failure to disclose the results of the audit to her.
The case before Mr Justice Paul Coffey continues on Wednesday.
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