The initial hearing for a claim for breast cancer misdiagnosis has been held in Dublin’s High Court.
On the 25th November 2011, Eileen Fennessy – a retired schoolteacher from Piltown in Co. Kilkenny – attended a “Breast Check” event as part of the National Breast Screening Programme. However, she has since alleged that the mammogram taken at the screening was not properly examined, leading to a missed diagnosis of breast cancer.
A year later, Eileen attended her GP, who noted a large mass on one of her breasts. The sixty-nine year-old was then referred to Waterford Regional Hospital, where an ultrasound and biopsy lead to the diagnosis of a grade 2 carcinoma.
As soon as the diagnosis was made, Eileen was started on a course of chemotherapy. However, this did not clear the cancer and in April 2013 Eileen had a mastectomy. Upon her recovery from the procedure, Eileen sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for her missed diagnosis of breast cancer.
In her claim, Eileen alleged that the chemotherapy and mastectomy she endured would not have been necessary had the medical staff correctly interpreted the warning signals from her mammogram in 2011.
The Health Service Executive, against whom the claim was made, denied that they were negligent in Eileen’s care. The case proceeded to Dublin’s High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was informed that the failure to diagnose Eileen in 2011 put her in danger should the cancer progress.
The judge was also informed that, though Eileen is currently in remission, her prognosis is “extremely serious and devastating”. The claim has yet to be resolved.