Woman settles cases over incorrectly reported cervical smear test

By November 18, 2019 No Comments

A woman whose cervical smear test was incorrectly reported as negative and who got cancer three years later and had to have a hysterectomy has settled her High Court action.

A cytopathologist had earlier this month apologised in court to the 39-year-old woman, who cannot be identified. She currently does not have cancer but has reviews every three months, the court heard.

She had sued the HSE, Medlab Pathology Ltd and the cytopathologist, Dr Colin Clelland of Haddington, Oxford, England who examined her smear slide taken on April 22nd, 2013 under the Cervical Check screening programme.

In court this week, Dr John O’Mahony SC, for the woman, said the case, which had been at hearing for several days, had been settled.

Counsel said the proceedings against the HSE and MedLab Pathology could be struck out and the settlement was against Dr Clelland. No details of the settlement were provided.

In his apology earlier this month, Dr Clelland conveyed his “sincere and heartfelt apologies” in relation “to an incorrect interpretation” of the woman’s 2013 smear that “caused a delay in the detection of your cancer and for the resulting trauma that you have suffered.”

Adversely affected
He said: “I recognise also your fertility has been adversely affected along with the physical effects of the surgery and the emotional consequences of a cancer diagnosis.”

Dr Clelland also offered deepest sympathy to the woman and wished her well for the future.

At the opening of the case, Dr O’Mahony said the woman had a cervical smear test in 2013. He said there should have been “flashing red lights” but the result came back negative. Three years later, she was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a hysterectomy. It was claimed, had it not been for the misreporting of the April 2013 smear, she would not have had to have a hysterectomy and would have conserved her fertility.

“Her intention was to have a family, she is family-focused. It was her desire to have children. She looked forward to being a mother, she is saddened by this,” Dr O’Mahony said.

Were it not for the misreporting of the 2013 smear, she “would not have lost out as badly as she did”, he said. The woman does not currently have cancer but she is “”not out of the woods” and has reviews every three months, he said.

She has also been left with a chronic condition which causes swelling in her body, he added.

Liability was conceded in the case and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.