Lawyers of woman dying of cervical cancer plead for HSE to settle case

Lawyers Of Woman Dying Of Cervical Cancer Plead For Hse To Settle Case
The judge was told the 59-year-old woman is gravely ill and it is only 'a matter of days' before she dies
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Ann O'loughlin

Lawyers for a woman who is dying of cervical cancer and is days from death have appealed in the High Court to the HSE to settle her case over the alleged misreporting of her cervical smear slides.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told the 59-year-old woman is gravely ill, and it is only “a matter of days” before she dies.


The woman's counsel, Patrick Treacy SC instructed by Cian O’Carroll solicitors, told the court the legal team had been “tragically informed” late on Wednesday by the woman’s husband that she was now under hospice care and her situation is “so serious she cannot herself consult with her solicitor.”

Mr Treacy said he was in court making a humanitarian request to the HSE to enter into mediation talks to resolve the matter or for the HSE to give an assurance that the woman’s right to general damages if she goes on to win her action be preserved after her death.

The woman’s case is due for trial in the High Court in July. All the claims made in the action are denied.

The woman at the centre of the case cannot be identified by order of the court.


Mr Treacy said he was asking the court to list the case again on Friday morning so that the parties and in particular the HSE can reflect on the matters overnight,

“We need to get this matter settled. We are in an end of life situation,” he said.

Adjourning the case until Friday morning, Mr Justice Paul Coffey who noted the woman was “gravely ill and in extremis” encouraged the parties to engage further to see if a resolution can be arrived at.

The judge said the parties now find themselves “at the edge of what the law can do” and it was now a case “where common decency and honour become involved.”


The woman has sued the HSE along with laboratory Eurofins Biomnis Ireland Limited of Sandyford Industrial Estate, Foxrock, Dublin. The US laboratory CPL, which is based in Austin, Texas, and which examined the woman’s August 2010 cervical smear slide, was added to the proceedings as a third party at the end of last month.

At issue in the case are two cervical smear slides taken under the CervicalCheck national screening programme in February 2010 and August 2010.

She has claimed that if smear samples taken in February 2010 or August 2010 had been correctly reported she would have been treated by curative surgery and would not have developed invasive cervical cancer.

Instead, she says she underwent treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy and in October 2022 she was diagnosed as having widespread metastatic disease.

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It is claimed because of the alleged delay in diagnosis the woman allegedly lost the opportunity of cure and her life expectancy was severely impaired and limited to months rather than years.

All the claims are denied.

Counsel for the HSE Sarah Corcoran BL told the court the pleas made on behalf of the woman were heard but there may be practical difficulties involved.

Counsel for CPL Imogen McGrath SC told the court it was a very complex case in relation to liability and causation and there was a great deal of investigation to do.

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