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HSE apology for not spotting fatal cancer sooner

THE HSE has unreservedly apologised for shortcomings in the management and care of a 31-year-old woman whose cancer went undiagnosed for nine months.

Sharon McEneaney, Magheracloone, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, died in 2009 from a tumour that the High Court heard was a particularly virulent and aggressive.

The creche manager had visited Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, on several occasions from October 2007 but was only diagnosed in July 2008, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told.


Yesterday, the McEneaney family appealed to the HSE to implement the six outstanding recommendations of the 38 contained in a review after the tragic death.

“We hope the lessons from this case will be learned by the hospital and all involved in the health services and that no other family will have a similar experience to ours.”

In a statement outside the High Court, Sharon’s sister Sinead, on behalf of the family, said they welcomed the ruling of the settlement of €62,500 and the apology.

“Sharon was a beloved daughter, sister and friend. She is sorely missed by her family and a wide circle of friends,” she added.

Liam Reidy SC, for the family, said Ms McEneaney had been referred to Our Lady of Lourdes on three occasions between October and November 2007.

She first went in in October 2007 with abdominal pain and underwent surgery that November. But crucially, counsel said, no biopsy was carried out.

After the cancer was diagnosed in July 2008, she was referred to Beaumont Hospital but, unfortunately, it was too late, he said. Ms McEneaney had to have six courses of chemotherapy but died on April 15, 2009.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that two actions by Sharon’s family in relation to the death and an action for nervous shock had been settled for a total of €62,500.

The judge commended the McEneaney family for their “courage and tenacity” in participating in the inquiry and ensuring changes were effected.