Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim Heard in Court

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A medical negligence claim, made by a woman who underwent an allegedly negligent mastectomy after a cancer misdiagnosis, has been heard in Dublin’s High Court.

Eileen Fennessy, a sixty-nine year-old retired schoolteacher from Co. Kilkenny, attended a Breast Check event as part of the National Breast Screening Programme on the 25th November 2011. However, she claims that mammogram taken at the screening contained warning signals of breast cancer which were not noted by medical staff, leading to a missed diagnosis.

A year after the first scan, Eileen visited her GP, who noted a large mass on one of her breasts. As such, Eileen was then referred to Waterford Regional Hospital, where an ultrasound and biopsy lead to the diagnosis of a grade 2 carcinoma.

Eileen was immediately started on a course of chemotherapy after the confirmation of her breast cancer. Regrettably, this did put her in remission and in April 2013 Eileen had a mastectomy. Upon her recovery from the procedure, Eileen sought legal advice and proceeded to make a claim for her missed diagnosis of breast cancer.

In her claim for medical negligence compensation – which was made against the Health Service Executives – Eileen alleged that the chemotherapy and following mastectomy would not have been needed had the medical staff correctly interpreted the warning signals from her mammogram in 2011.

The Health Service Executive, who run the “Breast Check” programme, denied that they were negligent in Eileen’s care. Earlier this week, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was informed at the High Court that the failure to diagnose Eileen after the initial screening put her at risk of her cancer becoming worse and metastasising.

The court was also informed that despite Eileen’s current remission, her prognosis “extremely serious and devastating”.  The case will continue later this week.