Cervical Smear Test Scandal – Ireland
The Cervical Check Programme was launched by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2008 in which women between the ages of 25 and 60 were invited for yearly cervical smear tests which were aimed at identifying pre-cancerous cells and ultimately reducing the number of cases of cervical cancer in Ireland. The HSE negligently failed to diagnose and treat thousands of women.
The recent scandal has uncovered that the HSE has been negligent in failing to properly diagnose and treat thousands of Irish women. 1500 women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer did not have their smear test results reviewed by the National Screening Service to determine if the disease could have been flagged up sooner. Vicky Phelan was among 209 women who had abnormalities detected in their tests. Information was held from 162 of these women. 17 of these women have since died and in 15 of those cases, the women were not informed about the abnormalities in their smear test.
Who Was at Fault?
The HSE and Irish Government have been widely criticised for the role they played in the screening process and have been accused of instigating a ‘cover up’. Additionally, the HSE employed the services of two American companies to carry out the testing, they have also been negligent in the way they handled the testing of cervical smear tests.
Some people have incorrectly accused physicians of negligence. However, their job was merely to collect cells from the women and send them to the pathologists at the testing companies. Therefore, the negligence lies with Quest Diagnostics, Clinical Pathology Laboratories (CPL) and the HSE.
How Can We Help?
The real tragedy of this scandal is that a lot of the deaths and illnesses could have been avoided. Lead campaigner Vicky Phelan successfully sued CPL for 2.5 million euros, her smear tests were misdiagnosed and as a result, she became terminally ill. Emma Mhic Matuna sued the HSE and Quest Diagnostics for 7.5 million euros, she sadly passed away in October 2018.
At P.A. Duffy & Co Solicitors our experienced medical negligence solicitors can help victims of this scandal to recover compensation. The negligence is very clear and the HSE has apologised for its handling of the Programme.
What is involved in a case resulting from a cervical cancer misdiagnosis?
Firstly, the medical records of the potentially mistreated women must be reviewed to see if the smear(s) were reported incorrectly and whether the failure amounts to a breach of duty. The woman will only have a stateable case if there was a breach of duty resulting in harm. It is important that all harm caused, including, financial, physical, and future loss of earnings, are well documented to build a strong case.
How can I finance a medical negligence claim against the HSE, Irish Government and Other Parties for cervical cancer misdiagnosis?
We know that funding a compensation claim might be a worry, so we offer a range of options.
Legal Aid · Legal expenses cover
After the Event insurance (ATE insurance)
What is the time limit for a medical negligence claim against the HSE and Irish Government regarding the misdiagnosis of cervical cancer?
In the Republic of Ireland, the statute of limitations for medical negligence cases is three years for the time of the negligence. However, you will be able to bring a case within two years. This is especially important in cases involving misdiagnosis as patients generally will not realise the effects of the misdiagnosis until well after the negligence occurred.
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