Terminally-Ill Vicky Phelan Awarded €2.5m Following Error in 2011 Cervical Cancer Smear Test

43-year-old Vicky Phelan, a terminally ill mother, who was incorrectly told she did not have cervical cancer during 2011, has been awarded an incorrect diagnosis settlement of €2.5m from US lab Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc.

Ms Phelan, a resident of Annacotty, Co Limerick, was told, in January 2017, that she has less than one year to live.

In 2011, she was told there were no abnormalities found in the smear sample sent to the Austin, Texas based testing company. In 2014, at her next smear test it was found that she had cervical cancer. A review was completed by the company that showed the earlier the results were incorrect. However, Ms Phelan was not told of this error and the resulting audit until 2017.

During the High Court action her lawyers said if the cancerous cells had been found in 2011 she would have had a common procedure and would have a 90% chance of surviving the illness.

However, Ms Phelan commented in a television interview on RTÉ that she believed at least three women who had earlier got an all-clear smear result had since died due to cervical cancer. The Health Service Executive (HSE) will, this week, confirm the number of women who died away once the current review finished.

The legal action taken against the HSE was struck out and the settlement was against the US laboratory Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas only, with no acceptance of liability.

Mrs Phelan has been administered a new drug recently and is also hopeful of being accepted on to the US-based programme offering a radical new innovative treatment and has already raised €200,000 through a Go Fund Me web page.

Figures published yesterday showed that in 206 cervical cancer cases reviewed the delay in the cancer being identified following smear tests suggests these women missed out on previous intervention. A phone helpline for women concerned about their cervical cancer screening results is now available.

Posted in Incorrect Treatment, Medical Negligence in Ireland, Misdiagnosis Claim, Wrong Diagnosis Medical Negligence