Family of woman who died from cervical cancer settles case

Retired nurse Joan Lucey died hours after HSE and laboratories agreed to begin mediation

The family of a woman who died last week from cervical cancer has settled a High Court action.

It is understood the settlement was made without admission of liability. Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told on Thursday the action has been resolved.

Joan Lucey, a retired nurse and widow from Dingle, died last Friday just hours after the HSE and the laboratories agreed to begin mediation towards resolving the case.

Her lawyers had gone to court twice pleading for mediation to begin, but there were outstanding issues for the defence in relation to a third-party issue.

Mediation had continued after her death, but the court was previously told that had been unsuccessful and ended at 10pm last Tuesday.

In court on Thursday, Oonah McCrann SC, instructed by Aisling Maher of Cantillons solicitors, for the family, said the case had been resolved and will come back before the court on March 4th next when the settlement can be approved.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross congratulated all sides and the mediator on reaching a settlement.

Ms Lucey’s son Sean and her daughter Sinead had taken over the legal action as they are executors of her estate.

Mrs Lucey’s claims for general damages fell away when she died, but the action was reconstituted as a fatal claim, with her children replacing her as plaintiffs.

Mrs Lucey(73), of Cooleen, Dingle, had sued the HSE, Clinical Pathology Laboratories Incorporated (CPL)with headquarters in Austin, Texas, United States, and MedLab Pathology Ltd with registered offices at Sandyford Business Park, Dublin.

She sued in relation to the alleged misreading or misinterpretation or misreporting of her cervical smears taken in February 2011 and August 2011.

It was claimed that notwithstanding undergoing regular smear tests as advised, cytological cell changes in Mrs Lucey were allegedly allowed to develop and spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in July 2019.

All the claims were denied.

CPL had also joined as a third party in the proceedings a consultant obstetrician, Dr Mary McCaffrey of The Scotia Clinic, Tralee, Co Kerry.

CPL had alleged failure to assess or investigate Mrs Lucey when she attended the clinic on April 29th, 2011, and it was claimed it resulted in an alleged missed opportunity to diagnose pre-invasive disease.

All the claims were denied.