A 55-year-old woman suffering from cervical cancer has agreed to mediation talks in her legal action for the alleged misinterpretation of her CervicalCheck.
Mediation talks will take place tomorrow and the High Court has been advised that the legal teams representing Dublin woman Orla Church and the HSE and US laboratory Quest Diagnostics will be in attendance. The case is pencilled in for mention next week when the court will be informed if the mediation has lead to a positive outcome. The Health Service Executive made the suggestion that that talks take place.
Ms Church took the legal action against the HSE and Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, located in Delaware in the United States, which supplied cervical cytopathology laboratories and services to the HSE for the CervicalCheck screening programme.
Ms Church was called for a smear test in September 2011. This was then forward to a laboratory managed by Quest Diagnostics. Ms Church’s sample results stated there there was no abnormality detected and recommended routine screening being conducted. In line with this recommendation, Ms Church had a subsequent smear test in September 2014 and this sample also appeared to show showed no abnormalities and advised normal recall.
In December 2015 Ms Church began suffering from significant pelvic pain and went to hospital. At this point she was diagnosed with cervical cancer with a tumour measuring over 4cm. Ms Church’s previous smear tests, taken in 2011 and 2014, were revisited and it was initially claimed that the results of these tests were amended in both instances.
However, upon further review, Ms Church’s legal team claimed that a change was made to 2014 smear test result only. ALong with this, it is alleged that following additional reviews, including one by an independent external pathologist in March 2017, both smear test results were altered from the original negative category. Ms Church also claimed that the reporting by the Quest Diagnostics laboratory led to a false negative result being delivered both in September 2011 and in September 2014.
Ms Church advised the High Court that there was no intervention regarding her condition until after May 2016, when she underwent treatment prior before suffering a significant deterioration in her health in September 2017.
This failure to diagnose cervical cancer caused profound shock, distress and upset. Ms Church alleged, in her legal action, that there was a failure to refer her for the proper medical treatment.