Hospital sorry for cancer death

Letterkenny General Hospital yesterday apologised to the husband and three children of a young mother who died of breast cancer after two missed opportunities to diagnose the disease.

Hospital sorry for cancer death

An apology from the hospital was read to the court as part of the settlement of the case over the wrongful death of the 34-year-old mother who died just eight days after her third child was born.

The general manager of Letterkenny General Hospital in a letter said he wished to “apologise unreservedly” that Ms Hamilton’s cancer was not diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage.

In the letter to Melissa’s husband Seamus, the general manager of Letterkenny General Hospital, Sean Murphy, expressed “deepest and sincere regrets”.

“It is with a great sense of sadness and regret that I am writing today on behalf of the clinical staff and management of Letterkenny General Hospital and also on a personal basis, to express our deepest and sincere regrets to you and your family on the devastating loss of your wife Melissa,” it said.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told that the actions brought by Mr Hamilton and his children had been settled. The judge approved a €900,00 settlement payment for the children.

Mr Hamilton had told the High Court judge when his wife died just a fortnight after her breast cancer was finally diagnosed it felt like a different world.

The widower of Sallywood, Killygordon, Co Donegal, along with their three children Jessica, 10, Darcey, 6 and Gracie, who was born just days before her mother’s death, sued GP Eileen Coyne with an address at Health Centre, Stranorlar, Donegal, and the HSE.

It was claimed the GP had a duty of care to Mrs Hamilton to exercise all reasonable skill and care in the provision of medical services including the provision of all services necessary to assist in the diagnosis and early treatment of her cancer.

The HSE it was claimed was responsible for the control, management and operation of the Breast Centre North West triple assessment clinic in Letterkenny General Hospital and also had a duty to take all reasonable steps to safeguard Mrs Hamilton’s life.

It was claimed there was a failure to diagnose Mrs Hamilton’s cancer at an earlier treatable stage and negligent delay in achieving a cancer diagnosis.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told that liability was admitted last month and the case, which includes a claim for nervous shock on Mr Hamilton’s part, was before the court for assessment of damages.

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