Two more women take cases:

Women be­gin cases against HSE and lab­o­ra­to­ries over al­leged di­ag­no­sis de­lays

The Irish Times - - Front Page - MARY CAROLAN and ELAINE ED­WARDS

Two more women have taken le­gal ac­tion against the Health Ser­vice Ex­ec­u­tive and lab­o­ra­to­ries over al­leged de­lays re­lat­ing to iden­ti­fy­ing ab­nor­mal­i­ties in their smear tests.

The cases are the first to be listed in the High Court since the Cer­vi­calCheck smear con­tro­versy arose last month af­ter Lim­er­ick woman Vicky Phe­lan set­tled her ac­tion for ¤2.5 mil­lion.

Mr Jus­tice Kevin Cross yes­ter­day set hear­ing dates in July for the two ac­tions and for an­other ac­tion by a woman who has ovar­ian can­cer re­lat­ing to pre­vi­ous can­cer checks.

Mr Jus­tice Cross also made or­ders, at the re­quest of lawyers for the women, that they not be iden­ti­fied in any way.

In the first cer­vi­cal smear case, the court heard the prog­no­sis for the woman is “not good” and she has been given a life ex­pectancy of be­tween six and 12 months. She only heard of the al­leged mis­di­ag­no­sis of a 2012 smear test on May 3rd last, the court was told.

In the sec­ond cer­vi­cal smear case, the court heard the woman is un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy and ra­dio­ther­apy as she suf­fers from cer­vi­cal can­cer and breast can­cer.


Jeremy Ma­her SC, for the woman, said she had a smear test in 2009 and an­other in 2012, which came back as neg­a­tive and her cer­vi­cal can­cer was di­ag­nosed this year. It was their case the cer­vi­cal can­cer should have been de­tected ear­lier.

He said a review of the smear tests was car­ried out in 2014 and 2015 but the woman was not in­formed of the review, or of the review re­sults which showed the orig­i­nal tests re­sults were in­cor­rect.

Coun­sel said the woman has a life ex­pectancy “lim­ited to months” and there would be a real con­cern if the case was not heard until Oc­to­ber.

In the ovar­ian can­cer case, the court heard the woman in­volved has a fam­ily his­tory of ovar­ian can­cer and had checks be­tween 2010 and 2017. The woman had a hys­terec­tomy and other pro­ce­dures last year when it was dis­cov­ered she had Stage 3 ovar­ian can­cer which had not been di­ag­nosed pre­vi­ously.

Patrick Treacy SC, for the woman, said his side would con­tend the di­ag­no­sis should have been made ear­lier and there were al­leged in­di­ca­tors in 2013. He asked that the woman’s ac­tion be case-man­aged by the court and an early hear­ing date be set be­cause of the dire sit­u­a­tion.

He said the solic­i­tors in­volved were co-oper­at­ing re­gard­ing dis­cov­ery of doc­u­ments nec­es­sary for the case.

Patrick Han­ratty SC, for the HSE, said there was no ob­jec­tion to the early ap­pli­ca­tion and the case was set down for July.

Fix­ing all three cases to go on trial for dif­fer­ent dates in July, Mr Jus­tice Cross urged the par­ties to explore al­ter­na­tive means of res­o­lu­tion.

The can­cer-screen­ing con­tro­versy emerged last month when Ms Phe­lan set­tled for ¤2.5 mil­lion her court ac­tion against a US lab­o­ra­tory which the Cer­vi­calCheck screen­ing ser­vice had sub­con­tracted to read smear tests.

Ms Phe­lan re­ceived a false neg­a­tive re­sult in her 2011 smear test and later dis­cov­ered she had can­cer. It later emerged that test re­sults were mis­read in 209 cases.

Vicky Phe­lan set­tled for ¤2.5 mil­lion her court ac­tion against a US lab­o­ra­tory

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