Wednesday 28 September 2016

Retired teacher sues over alleged failure to diagnose breast cancer

Tim Healy

Published 09/06/2016 | 18:49

Eileen Fennessy pictured arriving to the High Court in Dublin Pic Collins Courts
Eileen Fennessy pictured arriving to the High Court in Dublin Pic Collins Courts

A woman would not have had to have chemotherapy or a right side mastectomy if a correct diagnosis had been made when she went for a Breast Check mammogram, it has been claimed before the High Court.

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Retired teacher Eileen Fennessy (69) has sued the HSE over an alleged failure to diagnose breast cancer in a 2011 mammogram as well as over an alleged delay in diagnosis.

Her counsel. Pat Treacy, told the court Ms Fennessy's GP found a large mass in her right breast in October 2012 and referred her for an ultrasound and a biopsy.

She was shown to have a Grade 2 carcinoma and began chemotherapy straight away with a right side mastectomy carried out in April 2013.

Counsel told the court it was Ms Fennessy's contention the chemotherapy and mastectomy would not have been required if the correct diagnosis had been made when she had the mammogram in 2011.

He said while Ms Fennessy is now cancer free the underlying diagnosis for her is extremely serious and devastating.

Ms Fennessy, The Meadows, Piltown, Co Kilkenny has sued the HSE, which oversees the Breast Check National Breast Screening Programme  for alleged negligence and breach of duty.

Her counsel said she had mammograms in November 2002 and 2004 which showed normal.

She underwent a mammogram on October 23, 2009, and November 25, 2011, both of which were reported as showing no evidence of cancer.

However, in October 2012, she attended her GP who found a large mass in her right breast and referred her to Waterford  Regional Hospital.

A biopsy after an ultrasound found a grade 2 carcinoma.

It is claimed the mammogram of November 25, 2011 was reported as normal but in fact was suspicious of cancer and Ms Fennessy should have been recalled for further investigation.

It is claimed that Ms Fennessy suffered an alleged misdiagnosis and delay in diagnosis and there was a failure to refer her for further investigation after the mammogram of November 25, 2011.

It is further claimed she was exposed to an unnecessary risk of deterioration and  her disease was permitted to progress untreated.

The HSE has denied the claims.

The case continues before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

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