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Cork family settle action over death of grandmother following alleged delay in cancer diagnosis

By Ann O’Loughlin 

A grandmother of ten lived for over two years as if nothing was wrong even though a specimen taken during a gallstones operation showed she had cancer, the High Court has heard.

A specimen taken during a gallbladder operation on Eva Lewis showed cancer, but her counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC told the High Court it was not acted upon and by the time the cancer was discovered two years later it had spread.

The 65-year old woman, Counsel said had surgery, but it was unfortunately much too late and she died two days after being discharged from hospital in October 2013.

The husband and family of Eva Lewis, Ballincrokig, White’s Cross, Co Cork today settled a High Court action over her death for €160,000.

Patrick Lewis, Ballincrokig, White’s Cross, Co Cork along with his daughters Patricia, Olive and Yvonne had sued consultant surgeon Sean Brennan with an address at The Cork Clinic, Western Road, Cork for nervous shock over the death of his wife in 2013.

Eva Lewis' daughters, Patricia, Olive and Yvonne, leave the High Court today. Picture: Courtpix 

Mrs Lewis was under the care of Mr Brennan when she had the gallbladder operation in 2011.

The Lewis family claimed there was an alleged failure to take the appropriate steps in a timely manner in response to findings of the histopathology analysis of the gallbladder specimen and that a significant delay was allegedly permitted to occur before Mrs Lewis received treatment for her cancer.

It was further claimed Mrs Lewis was deprived of the opportunity of receiving appropriate specialist attention and appropriate treatment significantly earlier .

Her husband and daughters, it was alleged suffered psychiatric injury due to shock caused by the death of Mrs Lewis .

The claims were denied.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the settlement was without an admission of liability.

Dr John O’Mahony SC told the court it was a sad case where Mrs Lewis was operated on in April 2011 for gallstones. Counsel said a specimen was taken from the gallbladder and a report six days after the operation indicated there was cancer present.

Counsel said this was not acted upon and Mrs Lewis continued for the next few years as if nothing was wrong when she could have been diagnosed and obtained the appropriate treatment.

Two years later in January 2013, Counsel said Mrs Lewis went to her GP complaining of a pain in the right abdomen and she was referred to a specialist. Counsel said that the cancer was found and it had spread.

Dr O’Mahony said two years when treatment including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy could have been given were lost. If that treatment had taken place, Dr O’Mahony said the result would have been that Mrs Lewis would have lived longer and had a better quality of life.

Counsel told the court that when diagnosed initially if Mrs Lewis had been treated appropriately, she would have lived much longer .

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross offered his sympathy to the Lewis family on their sad loss.