Woman with cancer criticises US lab over contributory negligence claim
Posted on 24th October 2019 at 22:04
‘I don’t understand how they can say I am at fault. I couldn’t have fought harder if I tried
A woman with cancer has said it is “absolutely vile” a US laboratory which carried out her smear test is claiming she could be at fault by not pursuing a repeat smear as it recommended.
“I don’t understand how they can say I am at fault. I couldn’t have fought harder if I tried. It’s vile, absolutely vile,” the seriously-ill mother of two told Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court.
In its defence of the action, Clinical Pathology Laboratories, (CPL) Austin, Texas, denies any liability and is claiming contributory negligence on the part of the woman. CPL, which analysed the 2012 slide, has made the claim over the woman allegedly not seeking a repeat smear within six months as recommended following the February 2012 test.
The woman who is in her 40s was diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in 2013, just over a year after her cervical smear sample was incorrectly reported as not abnormal. She has sued for damages, including aggravated damages.
The woman, who cannot be named by order of the court, told the court she learned this week she is no longer in remission. Doctors have told her that the best prognosis is now three to six months.
In her evidence, she said it was like “being slapped on the face” when she heard in May last year there had been an alleged incorrect reporting of her cervical smear slide six years earlier.
She said she asked the consultant why a letter about the review of her 2012 cervical smear slide had not been forwarded to her GP.
“He said he had put it in my file and put it away. It felt like my world was falling in on me.”
Earlier, when opening of the case this week, her counsel Patrick Treacy SC said it took almost four years before the woman was told in 2018 that a 2014 review had found the report of the 2012 test was incorrect.
Following her cancer diagnosis in April 2013, the woman underwent a hysterectomy.She suffered a recurrence of cancer in 2014 for which she had to undergo more treatment.
She suffered further setbacks and was given a poor prognosis but her hopes were raised after a CT scan last August showed cycles of chemotherapy appeared to be effective.
Mr Treacy also said the woman was “completely in the dark” until May 2018 there had been a misreading of her 2012 smear slide.
She and her husband have brought proceedings against the HSE and three laboratories — Medlab Pathology Ltd and Sonic Healthcare (Ireland Ltd), both with offices at Sandyford Business Park, Dublin, and Texas based Clinical Pathology Laboratories Incorporated.
All of the defendants are separately represented and all deny liability.
The court was told the three defendant laboratories are all subsidiaries of Sonic Healthcare, a global healthcare group headquartered in Australia. The case continues.
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