A 39-year old woman whose cervical smear test was incorrectly reported as negative but who later got cancer and had to have a hysterectomy has settled her High Court action.
Earlier this month a cytopathologist apologised in court to the woman, who cannot be identified.
She had sued the HSE and Medlab Pathology Ltd and cytopathologist, Dr Colin Clelland of Haddington, Oxford, England who examined her smear slide taken on April 22, 2013 under the Cervical Check screening programme.
In court this week, the woman’s counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC told the court the case which had been at hearing for several days had been settled.
Counsel said the proceedings against the HSE and MedLab Pathology could be struck out and the settlement is against Dr Clelland.
In the apology read to the court earlier this month cytopathologist Dr Clelland conveyed his “sincere and heartfelt apologies” in relation “to an incorrect interpretation” of the woman’s 2013 smear that “caused a delay in the detection of your cancer and for the resulting trauma that you have suffered.”
It continued: “I recognise also your fertility has been adversely affected along with the physical effects of the surgery and the emotional consequences of a cancer diagnosis.”
Dr Clelland also offered deepest sympathy to the woman and wished her well for the future,
At the opening of the case, Dr John O’Mahony SC told the court the woman had a cervical smear test in 2013 and there should have been “ flashing red lights” but the result came back negative.
Three years later she was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a hysterectomy.
Had it not been for the misreporting of the April 2013 smear, she claimed she would not have had a hysterectomy and would have conserved her fertility.
”Her intention was to have a family, she is family focused. It was her desire to have children. She looked forward to being a mother, she is saddened by this,” Dr O’Mahony told the court.
Liability was conceded in the case and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.
Counsel said if there had been an appropriate reading of the 2013 smear the woman would have avoided “all of the nightmare” and retained her fertility. “She would not have lost out as badly as she did,” Dr O’Mahony added.
Counsel said the woman does not currently have cancer but she is “”not out of the woods” and has reviews every three months. He said the woman has also been left with a chronic condition which causes swelling in her body.