Woman with cervical cancer sues over smear tests

A woman who is currently in a palliative regime for cervical cancer has launched a High Court action over the incorrect reporting of her smear tests.

Woman with cervical cancer sues over smear tests

A woman who is currently in a palliative regime for cervical cancer has launched a High Court action over the incorrect reporting of her smear tests.

The woman, who cannot be identified by the order of the court, her counsel Patrick Treacy SC said, was given the all clear on tests taken under the screening programme in 2006 and 2009.

The pensioner who the court heard recently lost her husband has sued the HSE over her smear samples tested at a laboratory at University College Hospital, Galway.

It is claimed there was a failure to correctly report and diagnose and her smear test of 2006 was misinterpreted so her cancer was allowed to develop and spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in October 2009.

Had her 2006 smear sample been correctly reported it is claimed she would have been referred for a procedure which would have meant the pre cancer would have been eradicated with a less than 5% chance of recurrence and less than 1% chance of an invasive cancer developing.

Liability was conceded in the case last week.

Following her diagnosis of Stage 2 cervical cancer in October 2009, the woman underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Five years ago, she was confirmed to have cancer in her right lung and her pelvis and was commenced on palliative chemotherapy. She later developed the disease in her left lung.

Mr Treacy instructed by Cian O Carroll solicitors told the court the woman was referred by her GP to a gynaecologist in October 2009. A stage 2 invasive cervical cancer, he said was diagnosed .

Counsel said the result of the 2009 smear sample came back saying “no abnormality detected” after her cancer diagnosis.

“After that diagnosis was made, she got the result of the smear test which said all clear,” Counsel said.

Reviews were carried out in 2012 of the 2009 smear test and it showed the original report of the smear test was incorrect. In 2013, a further review of the same smear sample showed a high grade squamous lesion and possible glandular involvement. The result it is claimed was not communicated to the woman.

In May of last year she was advised by her treating gynaecologist of the reviews carried out on her 2009 sample.

The case before Mr Justice Kevin Cross will continue in the new year.

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