Terminally-ill Limerick Woman Awarded €2.5m following Cervical Cancer Smear Negligence


Ms Vicky Phelan – a resident of Annacotty, Co Limerick Vicky Phelan – a terminally ill mother of two, has settled her an wrong diagnosis compensation action for €2.5m from US lab Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc.

The US company tested Mrs Phelan’s smear sample in 2011 and incorrectly told her that she did not have cervical cancer at that time. In January 2017 she was advised that she has less than 12 months to live. This followed from  a 2014 review which exposed the 2011 lab results as flawed. Despite the company being aware of this they failed to notify Mrs Phelan of the 2011 error for another three years.

Mrs Phelan’s legal counsel revealed, during  the High Court action if the cancerous cells had been correctly identified in 2011 she would have had a straightforward surgical procedure and normally gives the person receiving treatment a 90% chance of surviving cervical cancer.

In an interview with RTÉ television Ms Phelan revealed that she felt that a minimum of three women who had earlier got an all-clear smear result had since died due after suffering from cervical cancer. Later this week the Health Service Executive (HSE) will release the amount of women who passed away once the review has been completed.

The legal action filed against the HSE was thrown out and the settlement was awarded against the US laboratory Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas only. There was no acceptance of liability.

Vicky Phelan has been prescribed a new drug recently and it is also hoped that she will be accepted on to the US-based programme that provides a radical new innovative treatment and has raised €200,000 through a Go Fund Me web page to date.

According to figures released yesterday, 206 cervical cancer cases reviewed featured the delay in the cancer being diagnosed after the smear tests suggests that these women missed out on an earlier intervention.