A 32-year-old mother of two who is seriously ill with cervical cancer today settled her High Court action over the alleged misinterpretation of her cervical smear slides.
The young mother afterwards stood outside the Four Courts and said: “I can now focus on my own fight to stay alive for as long as I can.”
Lynsey Bennett said she was relieved that her legal battle was over and she has security for her girls and their future.
Flanked by her solicitor Gillian O’Mahony she said she hoped she had done enough for her two daughters Zoe (12) and Hailee (7).
In a statement she said: “To my daughters Zoe and Hailee, I hope I have done enough to secure you both a future free of financial worries and that even with me not here to guide you, you can both pursue your dreams."
She cried as she stated: “And always remember, Mammy loves you. X”
The young mother had sobbed a few minutes earlier in Court Number One of the Four Courts as a letter of regret was read out from the head of CerrvicalCheck national screening programme.
CervicalCheck CEO Fiona Murphy in a letter to the 32-year-old mother said she wished on behalf of the CervicalCheck Programme “to express our deep regret to you and your family.”
In the letter read to the High Court she added: “I wish to acknowledge the many challenges that you have faced as a result of your diagnosis. I appreciate that this has been a very difficult time for you and your family and I hope you find some solace with the conclusion of this process.”
Ms Murphy said said she hoped the settlement will give Lynsey and her family “some level of comfort, peace of mind and security.” The letter concluded: “With deepest regret.”
Lynsey Bennett, Ennybegs, Killoe, Co Longford had sued the HSE, Irish testing laboratory, Eurofins Biomnis Ireland Ltd, Sandyford Industrial Estate, Dublin and US laboratory Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, New Jersey.
Ms Bennett had a smear test on February 3, 2010, which was sent to Eurofins Biomnis in Dublin. The test, it was claimed, came back as negative and another smear test was recommended in three years.
On December 16, 2013, Ms Bennett had another smear test as part of the national cervical screening programme.
This sample was sent to US lab Quest Diagnostics and, it was claimed, came back as showing atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance. A smear test in 12 months was recommended.
On December 2, 2014, Ms Bennett had another smear test and the sample was reviewed by Quest Diagnostics. It is claimed the result came back negative and she was advised by CervicalCheck that no abnormalities and a repeat smear in a year was recommended.
It is claimed Ms Bennett had another smear test in January 2016 which was tested at the US laboratory Quest Diagnostics and she was told no abnormalities had been detected and she would be reminded to have her routine smear test in three years' time.
Eleven months later it is claimed she went to her GP complaining of bleeding and was referred to hospital.
In January 2017, invasive cervical cancer was diagnosed, and Ms Bennett had to have a hysterectomy and other surgery.
In March 2018, she was found to have a recurrence of the cervical cancer.
It is claimed there was an alleged failure to correctly report or diagnose and an alleged misinterpretation of Ms Bennett’s smear samples.
Ms Bennett’s cancer, it was claimed, was allowed to develop and spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in January 2017.
The claims were denied.
The settlement was reached after mediation into the night.
Her counsel Jeremy Maher SC told the court Ms Bennett had secured the future for her children. A trust will now be set up for the children.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said Ms Bennett was a person of great courage. The judge said her legal team had achieved a very good settlement