A woman, who cannot be named by order of the court, suffering with terminal ovarian cancer, has settled her High Court action against the HSE for €2million. She took the legal action in relation to an alleged failure to take proper measures to protect her from the danger of developing the disease.
Despite the fact that there was a known family history of ovarian cancer she was not sent for genetic testing. When this was remedied and she was sent for the testing ,when she had begun to develop the cancer, in September 2017 it was discovered that she had been a “carrier all the time.”
Her counsel Patrick Treacy SC, instructed by Cian Carroll, solicitor, told the court the HSE had stated its intention to send a “letter of regret” to her. The settlement was the result of mediation talks with the the woman and her family was brought about after does not require an admission of liability.
Counsel said it was her concern that her case would improve the genetic screening services and her case came to light during the CervicalCheck controversy.
The legal action was taken by the woman, her husband and family against the HSE. It was alleged that the woman who had a family history of ovarian cancer had from August 2010 attended at regular intervals at University Hospital, Limerick, and at Mid Western Hospital, Nenagh, for screening in relation to the danger of her developing ovarian cancer.
In 2015 she underwent a colposcopy and was found to have mild changes in the cervix area. By February 2017 it was discovered that she had ovarian tumours and pathology showed high grade 3 serious cancer of both ovaries and she required a hysterectomy.
It was found, following a genetic analysis in September 2017, that the woman had a pathogenic mutation in the BRCA1 gene , which means she was-a person who was at high risk of ovarian cancer. Furthermore, it was claimed that there was a situation where the woman’s cancer was allowed to develop and spread unidentified and untreated until she was diagnosed with Stage 3c high grade serious ovarian cancer in February 2017.
The woman also claimed that her life expectancy was greatly diminished and stands at about two years.
The HSE denied the claims. The case, which had been due to be heard as an urgent matter, ended as Mr Justice Paul Butler approved the Failure to Diagnose compensation settlement.