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€110,000 for widower who sued HSE over wife's death from cancer

A HUSBAND who claimed his wife's life was wrongfully cut short due to a hospital's alleged failure to diagnose a recurrence of her cancer has secured a €110,000 High Court settlement against the HSE.

Karl Henry (52) sued over alleged failures at the Mid-Western General Hospital in Ennis, Co Clare, in diagnosing and treating his wife Anne Moriarty (54) for breast cancer.

Mr Henry, a civil servant, of Westfields, Limerick Road, Ennis, alleged the recurrence of his wife's condition should have been diagnosed in June 2007 and, had that happened, she would have benefited from chemotherapy and survived for longer with fewer symptoms.

On behalf of himself and the couple's adopted son, Ciaran, he sued for personal injuries, mental distress, loss, damage and loss of dependency.

He said his wife's death had had a devastating effect on him, and the consequent HSE investigation, with attendant media publicity, had also caused significant distress.

The HSE denied the claims and the settlement was without admission of liability.

Delayed diagnosis

It was alleged the negligence and breach of duty at Ennis hospital had resulted in a delayed diagnosis of the recurrence of Ms Moriarty's cancer and to her life being wrongfully cut short.

In his claim, Mr Henry said his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2005 and that diagnosis was confirmed in May 2005 in St James's Hospital in Dublin.

She underwent a full mastectomy in June followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was kept under review at St James's. There was no allegation against St James's, the court heard.

She became unwell in June 2007, suffering from weight loss and nausea, it was claimed.Ms Moriarty and her family were relieved when no recurrence of the cancer was diagnosed in June and August 2007 at Ennis hospital, but her GP continued to have concerns about her condition, it was claimed.

On August 14, she was referred to the Galway ER Clinic where she was immediately admitted on August 15.

Ms Moriarty sought review at St James's Hospital which confirmed extensive breast cancer with liver, lung and brain involvement. Mr Henry said he was told in August 2007 his wife's illness was terminal.

She underwent radiotherapy but died in April 2008.

Irish Independent