Monday 12 November 2018

Young mother - now fed via a tube - settles High Court action over alleged delay relating to cancer diagnosis

The High Court in Dublin (Stock image)
The High Court in Dublin (Stock image)

Tim Healy

A young mother who sued over an alleged delay relating to a cancer diagnosis has settled her High Court action for a total of €700,000.

Sarah O'Callaghan (34) gave birth to her baby daughter Daisy Mae on December 29 last and the court was told the bulk of the settlement is for the child. 

Aidan Doyle SC told the court Ms O'Callaghan is now in a situation where she is fed by tube six times a day. The pregnancy, counsel said, posed a massive risk considering Ms O'Callaghan's tumour which was diagnosed as an unusual and aggressive form of throat cancer.

The settlement was without admission of liability.

Ms O'Callaghan, of Lowergate, Cashel, Co Tipperary, had sued the HSE and GP Tom Purcell of Tipperary Primary Care Centre, Rosanna Road, Tipperary Town, for alleged delay in the diagnosis of her throat cancer.

She claimed on multiple dates between August 22, 2014 and March 9, 2016 she attended Mr Purcell complaining of sore throat and a feeling of "something in her throat" together with soreness of her right ear.

On March 9, 2016, the doctor referred her the A+E unit of University Hospital, Limerick, for examination where she was prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine.

Following this, she was seen on April 5, 2016 at the Ear Nose and Throat outpatients clinic at the hospital. She underwent a procedure in June 2016 but complained of a painful throat and difficulty swallowing afterwards.

On June 26, 2016 she re attended at the A+E  stating she had unable to swallow for three days and she was referred to the Ear Nose and Throat team the next day.

She underwent a CT Scan and had had another on July 6, 2016.

A tumour was found which was confirmed as malignant on July 19, 2016. She has since had chemotherapy treatment.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to diagnose Ms O'Callaghan in a timely manner and this allegedly caused a delay in her cancer treatment.

At the time of diagnosis, the tumour, it is claimed measured 5cm and was below the Adam's apple.

The court heard that full defences were lodged in the case.

Counsel also said three weeks ago she gave birth to Daisy Mae by Cesarean section.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very prudent settlement  and a very unfortunate case.

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