Shortly before a claim for inappropriate treatment of cancer was to be heard in Dublin’s High Court, the Health Service Executives have admitted liability for the avoidable injuries caused.
The patient in question, Kevin McMahon, then aged fifty-eight from Roxboro, Co. Limerick, made an appointment with his GP in July 2010 on account of a persistently hoarse throat. The GP referred Mr McMahon to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, also in Limerick, where doctors noticed a lesion and decided to take a biopsy of the area.
There were concerns that the lesion was cancerous, and as such, a second biopsy of the lesion was schedules that October. Yet that appointment was cancelled, and Mr McMahon did not receive any medical attention until January 2011.
During the second rescheduled appointment, Mr McMahon’s cancer was diagnosed. Because of the concerns of the doctors, Mr McMahon was informed that his larynx needed to be removed as soon as possible, which would require a lengthy operation. As a result of the operation, Mr McMahon now uses an artificial larynx to speak.
However, after the removal of his larynx, Mr McMahon discovered that targeted radiotherapy was an alternative method of treating the cancer. After receiving legal counsel, Mr McMahon made a claim against the Mid-Western Regional Hospital and Health Service Executive for inappropriate treatment of his cancer.
Mr McMahon alleged in the claim that there was lack of information presented to him concerning possible treatment, and as such the decision to undergo the operation that removed his larynx was uniformed. He also stated that the cancellation of the second appointment, and its delay until that January, allowed the cancer to develop further and cause preventable damage, which caused him emotional trauma.
The HSE were initially reluctant to admit liability in Mr McMahon’s injuries. However, earlier this year, they admitted liability for the inappropriate cancer treatment – just before the claim was scheduled to be heard in Dublin’s Hight Court. The schedules hearing proceeded, but Mr Justice Kevin Cross is currently assessing the value of the compensation settlement Mr McMahon is to receive.