Sunday 16 December 2018

Terminally ill woman settles case for €2m over genetic test 'failure'

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Tim Healy

A woman with terminal ovarian cancer, who sued over an alleged failure to take adequate measures to protect her from the risk of developing the disease, has settled her High Court action against the HSE for €2m.

The mother, who cannot be named by order of the court, had a family history of ovarian cancer but claimed she was not referred for genetic testing.

The real tragedy of her case, her senior counsel said, was that when she was genetically tested in September last year, months after developing the cancer, she was found to be a "carrier all the time."

The settlement of the action by the woman and her family was brought about after mediation talks and is without an admission of liability. Her counsel Patrick Treacy told the court the HSE intends to send a "letter of regret" to the woman.

The woman's case came to light during the CervicalCheck controversy and when Vicky Phelan settled her case over alleged delays for €2.5m.

It was claimed the woman had from August 2010 attended University Hospital Limerick and Mid-Western Hospital, Nenagh, regularly for screening in relation to her risk of ovarian cancer. In 2015, she was diagnosed with mild changes in the cervix area.

In February 2017, she was found to have ovarian tumours and pathology showed high grade 3 cancer of both ovaries and she had a hysterectomy.

Following a genetic analysis in September 2017, she was found to have a pathogenic mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which means she was a person who was at risk of ovarian cancer.

It was claimed there was a situation where the woman's cancer was allowed to develop and spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until she was diagnosed in February 2017. She further alleged her life expectancy was caused to be significantly reduced and stands at about 24 months.

All claims were denied.

Irish Independent

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