Family of 28-year-old who died of cancer settles case over care at Kerry General Hospital

Family of 28-year-old who died of cancer settles case over care at Kerry General Hospital
Kerry General Hospital

The family of a 28- year old Spanish woman who died here six years ago has settled High Court actions over the care she received at Kerry General Hospital.

Tatoo artist Rosa Gonzalez Valesco died after it was claimed there was an alleged failure to diagnose and treat her rare cancer on a timely basis when she sought help for a swelling on her jaw.

The young woman’s mother and partner today settled their actions against the HSE, which denied all the claims.

Rosa Gonzalez Valesco died six weeks after she first sought help at Kerry General Hospital A&E at the end of October 2013.

Oonah McCrann SC said Rosa who was Spanish and living in Ireland became aware of a lump on her neck and went to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee.

She said her side contended the woman’s cancer was allegedly misinterpreted. The HSE, she said deny the claim.

Counsel said her side contended had the cancer been diagnosed, she could have had chemotherapy immediately and it would have altered her prognosis to five years or may have been curative.

Rosa’s Family, Counsel said were reassured by the diagnosis and did not rush to her bedside and as a result they felt they lost precious time.

Two cases before the court were settled, that of Rosa’s partner of six years, Ms Cristina Garcia Garcia who had sued for nervous shock over her death and of Rosa’s mother, Isabel Velasco Cobaleda from Seville who sued over the circumstances of her daughter’s care at the Kerry Hospital. The terms of the settlement are confidential and the cases were struck out.

There was it was claimed an alleged failure to diagnose and treat Rosa’s cancer in a timely basis and an alleged failure to identify alleged malignant cells in the core biopsy and that an alleged incorrect diagnosis of TB was made. All the claims were denied.

Ms Gonzalez Valesco had attended a GP in late September 2013 complaining of swelling in her left jaw and antibiotics were prescribed. She suffered continuous swelling and attended A&E at Kerry General Hospital on October 31, 2013 and had an ultrasound and chest X-ray. She later had a CT scan which showed up lung lesions and she later had a biopsy and TB was suspected. In November 2013, she was told she would need to undergo further investigations.

On December 2, 2013, Ms Valesco had a Mantoux test which was negative for the presence of TB. Her condition worsened and she was transferred to a Cork hospital where she remained in isolation until it was decided on December 12, 2013, that she did not have tuberculosis.

She continued to deteriorate and suffered three cardiac arrests on December 16, 2013 and died it is claimed due to a rare cancer - advanced widespread histiocytic sarcoma.

Approving the settlements Mr Justice Kevin Cross offered his sympathies on the death of the young woman.

In a statement outside court, Rosa's mother Isabel Velasco Cobaleda and Rosa's partner Cristina Garcia Garcia said they were glad there was a successful outcome to the proceedings.

"It is a pity it has taken so long. We would hope the Irish health system will communicate better with families of ill patients in the future," they said.

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