Case of terminally ill woman with cervical cancer to be mediated

Joan Lucey’s cases fixed for hearing next week but lawyers said she was ‘on her deathbed’

The HSE and two laboratories are to participate in a mediation of the case of a terminally ill woman suing over cervical smear slides taken 10 years ago.

The HSE and two laboratories are to participate in a mediation of the case of a terminally ill woman suing over cervical smear slides taken 10 years ago.

 

The HSE and two laboratories are to participate in a mediation of the case of a terminally ill woman suing over cervical smear slides taken 10 years ago.

The action by Joan Lucey (73) was fixed for hearing next week but her lawyers sought mediation instead, saying she was “on her deathbed” and they were concerned large parts of her claim might die with her. The HSE was reluctant to take part in a mediation unless the laboratories, which had raised a third party issue, were also involved. The mediation will now take place next Tuesday and will involve all the defendants and a third party joined to the proceedings by US laboratory CPL.

On Friday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who urged the defendants on Thursday to take instructions “at the highest level” about entering mediation, wisshed all sides success in the mediation, “a quite difficult endeavour.”

Mrs Lucey, a widow and retired nurse, of Cooleen, Dingle, Co Kerry has sued the HSE, Clinical Pathology Laboratories Incorporated (CPL), with headquarters in Austin, Texas, USA; and MedLab Pathology Ltd with registered offices at Sandyford Business Park, Dublin.

She has sued over alleged misreading or misinterpretation or misreporting of cervical smears in February 2011 and August 2011.

In February 2011, she had a smear test allegedly tested by CPL under the supervision of MedLab which came back as negative with a recommendation for the repeat smear in six months.

It is also claimed Mrs Lucey was referred to the Scotia Clinic, Tralee, Co Kerry, on April 29th, 2011 where a swab came back as negative and she was advised she was HPV negative.

In August 2011, it is claimed Mrs Lucey had a repeat smear tested by CPL under the supervision of MedLab, reported as negative with a repeat smear recommended in a year.

It is claimed for the subsequent seven years Mrs Lucey had annual smear tests taken by her GP all of which were reported as negative . After a smear test and a HPV test in October 2018 were reported as negative in May 2019, she got a letter from CervicalCheck advising she had completed her cervical screening .

Mrs Lucey developed fatigue in late 2018 and lower back pain in May 2019, was later admitted to hospital for investigations and was diagnosed with cervical cancer in July 2019.

It is claimed, despite regular smear tests as advised, cytological cell changes in Mrs Lucey were allegedly allowed to develop and spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until her diagnosis with cervical cancer.

All the claims are denied.

CPL has joined, as a third party in the proceedings, a consultant obstetrician, Dr Mary McCaffrey, of The Scotia Clinic, Tralee. CPL claims failure to assess or investigate Mrs Lucey when she attended the clinic on April 29th 2011, allegedly resulting in a miissed opportunity to diagnose pre invasive disease.

The claims are denied.