Tuesday 23 July 2019

Dublin woman (55) suing after two smear tests were allegedly misread enters mediation talks

Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Arthur Carron
Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Arthur Carron

Tim Healy

A 55-year old Dublin woman with cancer who is suing over the alleged misinterpretation of her CervicalCheck smears has agreed to mediation talks in her legal action.

The High Court was told mediation talks will take place this Friday between the legal teams representing Orla Church and the HSE and US laboratory Quest Diagnostics.

The case will be mentioned again next week when the court will hear if the talks have been successful.

The court was told the HSE had suggested the mediation.

Ms Church, Elm Mount Avenue, Beaumont, has sued the HSE and US laboratory Quest Diagnostics Incorporated of Delaware which provided cervical cytopathology laboratories and services to the HSE as part of the ChervicalCheck screening programme for Irish women.

It is claimed Ms Church had a smear test in September 2011 which was sent to a laboratory operated by Quest Diagnositcs. The report back from the laboratory after testing the sample said no abnormality detected and recommended routine screening.

In September 2014, Ms Church had another smear test as part of her routine screening and the laboratory report this time showed no abnormalities and advised normal recall.

Ms Church, it is claimed, was referred to hospital in December 2015 with pelvic pain and was later diagnosed with cervical cancer with a tumour of over 4cms showing up in a scan.

Ms Church's two smear tests were reviewed and it it alleged the results were amended in both cases.

It is claimed that on review no change was made to the reporting of the 2011 smear test but a change was made to the 2014 smear test result.

It is further claimed that following reviews, including one by an independent external pathologist in March 2017, both smear test results were changed from the original negative category.

Ms Church alleges the reporting by the Quest Diagnostics laboratory allegedly led to a false negative result both in September 2011 and in September 2014.

She says there was no intervention in her condition until after May 2016 when she underwent treatment.

In September 2017, she suffered a deterioration on her health and was advised in May 2018 there was a recurrence of her cancer with secondary tumours in her kidneys.

It is claimed her prognosis is extremely poor.

It is alleged there was a failure to diagnose, or an misinterpretation, and an alleged failure to refer her to the proper and appropriate specialists for the purpose of the prompt investigation, monitoring or early diagnosis.

It is claimed upon discovering she was suffering from cervical cancer Ms Church suffered profound shock, distress and upset.

All claims are denied by the defendants.

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