Irish Olympic boxing hopeful who swallowed barbed dental instrument sues dentist and HSE

Irish Boxing champion Ceire Smith, who claims her boxing career has been damaged after she swallowed a sharp dental instrument during root canal treatment, has sued in the High Court.

Irish Olympic boxing hopeful who swallowed barbed dental instrument sues dentist and HSE

By Ann O'Loughlin

Irish Boxing champion Ceire Smith, who claims her boxing career has been damaged after she swallowed a sharp dental instrument during root canal treatment, has sued in the High Court.

The 25-year-old Cavan Boxing Club flyweight could have been the next Katie Taylor and could have qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016, her counsel Michael J McMahon SC told the High Court today.

Boxing coach Billy Walsh, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty was told, will say in evidence Ceire Smith would have qualified for Rio 2016 and was expected to get a medal. Mr Walsh has travelled from Colorado in the US to give evidence in the case.

Ceire Smith has sued her dentist and the HSE after the sharp instrument dropped down her throat during root canal treatment in October 2013, but she was told it would pass through her system.

Instead, her counsel told the court it travelled inside her body, lodging near her hip only centimetres from her femoral artery. The instrument was eventually taken out of the boxer's body in September 2014 during surgery.

Counsel handed in pictures to the court of the instrument, which he said was sharp and was a barbed broach instrument.

During this time Mr McMahon said the boxer was in training as an elite athlete to go for qualifiers to compete in the Rio Olympics.

"In a nutshell Billy Walsh will say she would have qualified for Rio 2016. Irish ladies boxing was going through a golden era and Billy Walsh will say she was the next Katie Taylor and she would have got a medal," Counsel told Mr Justice Michael Moriarty at the opening of the case.

Ms Smith, a student from Ballyhaise, Co Cavan, has sued her dentist Rachael Frazer, with a dental practice at Church Street, Cavan and the HSE.

Liability has been admitted in the case which is before the court for assessment of damages only.

She claimed the dentist failed to use dental floss or other material to attach to the instrument so it could be retrieved and not swallowed and advised Ms Smith the piece of equipment would be passed by her in days and "it was just a little bit of metal".

Against the HSE, Ms Smith claimed there was a failure to refer her on to a gastroenterologist who could have arranged imaging to track and check on the position of the instrument and undertake appropriate management. She further claimed she was advised she was fit to engage in boxing competition.

Ms Smith claimed she competed in the multi-nations in March 2014 in Germany but felt very weak and performed badly. In April of that year she competed in Poland and lost and had severe abdominal pain.

She says she went back to Cavan General Hospital at the end of April 2014 but was told she could continue to compete. In September 2014, Ms Smith returned to Cavan General Hospital in pain but was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.

After investigations she had two bouts of surgery and the instrument was removed from her body at the end of September 2014.

She was unable to partake in the world championships in South Korea in November 2014 and this, it was claimed, was damaging to her career and hugely upsetting for her.

The case before Mr Justice Moriarty continues tomorrow.

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