Boy (13) wins €325,000 after mother’s death from cancer

Krzysztof Sliwa settles action against HSE over an alleged delay in diagnosis

Krzysztof Sliwa and  his aunt Magdalena Paczkowska Tomczak outside the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts

Krzysztof Sliwa and his aunt Magdalena Paczkowska Tomczak outside the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts


A boy whose mother, his sole parent, died of breast cancer three years ago has secured €325,000 under a settlement of his High Court action against the HSE over an alleged delay in diagnosing her.

The settlement was without admission of liability.

Krzysztof Sliwa, aged 13, now lives with his aunt in his native Poland following the death of his mother Dorota Sliwa when he was aged 10.

Through his aunt Magdalena Paczkowska Tomczak, the boy sued the HSE over the death of Ms Sliwa in October 2015. At the time, they were living at Gleann Cora, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare.

Patrick Treacy SC, for the boy, said the HSE was cognisant of the tragic circumstances in which the boy had lost his mother and it was not a confrontational case.

It was claimed the boy shared in the suffering of his mother during her terminal illness and had at tender years endured the stress, distress and upset of living with a close family member during their terminal illness.

Krzysztof’s mother was, it was claimed, seen by medical staff on a number of occasions from about July 2009 to her death in October 2015.

She had a mammogram here on August 5th, 2009, but was not referred for family history gene testing. She was reviewed again in 2010 and 2011.

In Poland in 2012, a mammogram and ultrasound were carried out and a biopsy recommended. In December 2012, a malignant invasive cancer was confirmed and Ms Sliwa had to have a mastectomy.

In April 2014, Ms Sliwa complained of back pain and was found to have further cancer. She underwent chemotherapy but the disease was aggressive.

It was claimed that she died in October 2015 by reason of delay in diagnosis and/or treatment.

Family history

It was claimed there was failure to have any regard to the fact Ms Sliwa had a family history of breast cancer, with her mother dying from it aged 40 and her grandmother dying of breast cancer when aged in her 30s.

It was further claimed there was failure to treat Ms Sliwa adequately or suitably, in time or at all, as well as an alleged failure adequately or sufficiently, in time or at all, to identify her cancer when it was a small modular cancer at an early stage.

The claims were denied.

Approving the settlement, Judge Kevin Cross said the “helpful attitude” of the HSE in the legal action was to be highly commended.

While nothing would compensate the boy for the loss of his mother at a young age, his legal team had secured a good settlement, he added.