Woman sues over alleged misreporting of smear slide

It is claimed the alleged delay in the diagnosis resulted in her developing invasive cervical cancer requiring more extensive treatment
Woman sues over alleged misreporting of smear slide

High court reporters

A woman who is in remission from cervical cancer but who has claimed the cancer treatment has had a damaging effect on her life has launched a High Court action over the alleged misreporting of her smear slide.

It is claimed the alleged delay in the diagnosis resulted in her developing invasive cervical cancer requiring more extensive treatment.

It is further claimed had the woman’s smear sample taken in 2010 been correctly reported she could have been treated with one procedure.

The woman who cannot be named by order of the court after her 2016 diagnosis of invasive cancer had to have a lymphadenectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy, and it is claimed she continues to suffer various side effects from her treatment.

Effect on life

Her Counsel Patrick Treacy SC with Jeremy Maher SC instructed by Cian O Carroll solicitors told the court the woman is in remission but the treatment for her cervical cancer has had “an enormously damaging effect on her life.”

Counsel said this was not a case where there is a reduced life expectancy, but he said it is their case that she had to undergo unnecessary treatment including bouts of chemotherapy

The case he said is also one of the actions brought by women relating to the alleged non-disclosure of the results of a review of smear samples in the wake of the Vicky Phelan case.

The 63-year old grandmother has sued the HSE and three laboratories, Sonic Healthcare (Ireland) Ltd and Medlab Pathology Ltd both of Sandyford Business Centre, Blackthorn Road, Sandyford Business Park, Dublin  and Clinical Pathology Laboratories Incorporated of Austin, Texas, USA.


She had a smear test under the CervicalCheck national screening programme on October 20th, 2010.

The sample was reported as showing no abnormalities detected.

In September 2016, she was diagnosed as having invasive cervical cancer. It is claimed that subsequent to her diagnosis and unknown to her reviews were carried out of prior cervical screening on a number of women who had been diagnosed as having cervical cancer. .

In June 2017 the review was carried out of her sample taken in 2010. It is claimed that it indicated that the original report in relation to the smear was incorrect.

It is further claimed the woman’s consultant by letter on July 3rd, 2017 was advised of the outcome of the review, but the woman was not told the result.

In May 2018 she was advised by the consultant that the review of her 2010 smear sample showed it had been reported incorrectly.

Alleged failure

It is claimed there was an alleged failure to properly and correctly interpret or report on the woman’s 2010 smear test, and she was allegedly deprived of an opportunity of timely and effective investigation and management of her condition.

It has been claimed she was caused to suffer unnecessary pain, discomfort and distress and to be subjected to extensive surgical and medical interventions.

All the claims are denied.

The case continues next week before Mr Justice Paul Coffey.

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