Women are being "hunted into the grave" by the State, a leading CervicalCheck campaigner has claimed after a court was a told of the "really desperate" case of a terminally ill cancer victim.
Lorraine Walsh of the 221 support group was commenting after the High Court heard the 41-year-old unnamed woman may not "make it" even if her action against the HSE and a US laboratory is brought forward to be heard in the next few weeks.
The claimant is receiving palliative care and has recently been told that palliative chemotherapy has not been successful. She has also had to have surgery for a clot.
Asked to comment, Ms Walsh said: "Who is going to be next? It is shocking. How many women are going to fight their way until they are dead. Women are being hunted into the grave."
She said the group is seeking a meeting with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to get firm assurances on the long-delayed CervicalCheck tribunal and other issues.
The latest tragic case comes just days after the sad death of Ruth Morrissey, the 39-year-old Limerick mother who endured a marathon court ordeal while seriously ill with cervical cancer.
Barrister Patrick Treacy SC, instructed by Cian O'Carroll solicitor, yesterday applied for an earlier date for the hearing of the terminally ill woman's action which had been specially fixed for mid-September.
Counsel said the woman is extremely ill and "the situation is really desperate".
Last year it was indicated to the court that the woman had between nine and 18 months left to live. Mr Treacy asked that the case be rescheduled for September 1 and said the woman's legal team are seriously concerned "she won't make it" to that date.
Counsel said the woman is now further at risk of cancer recurrence and an expert on her side said it could "gallop through her". He said the woman's legal team had sought mediation of her case but was informed that the defendants are not ready.
Her evidence may have to be taken on commission in advance of the scheduled hearing, but she has been so ill, it has not been possible to examine the possibility with her, he said.
The woman and her partner have sued the HSE and US laboratory Quest Diagnostics Incorporated.
It is claimed she had a cervical smear test in June 2016 under the national cervical screening programme which was tested in a Quest Diagnostics lab and came back as negative for malignancy or lesion. She was advised in a letter a few weeks later that the smear test detected no abnormalities.
In 2018, it is further claimed, she had another smear test which came back from the laboratory as negative for lesion or malignancy and in a letter in February 2019 she was told that the smear test detected no abnormalities.
She was diagnosed in July 2019 with Stage 2 cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In April this year she was diagnosed as having metastatic disease in her lungs and lymph nodes.
She claims she was deprived of the opportunity of a timely and effective investigation and management of her condition and of the opportunity of treatment at a time when her disease, she claims, was amenable to curative treatment. Her life expectancy was caused to be significantly reduced and the alleged misreporting of her test resulted in a missed opportunity to diagnose her cancer at a time when it was curable, it is claimed.
The defendants deny the claims.
The case was adjourned for mention next Tuesday for a medical report on the woman.