The family of a woman who died before a mediation of her High Court case over cervical smear slides taken 10 years ago are to continue her action.
Joan Lucey's son Sean and her daughter Sinead will replace their mother in the legal action against the HSE and two laboratories over her smear tests of 2011.
A retired nurse and widow, Mrs Lucey died last Friday, just hours after the HSE and the laboratories agreed to begin mediation.
Her lawyers had gone to court twice pleading for mediation to begin as Mrs Lucey was on her deathbed and they were concerned large parts of her claim would die with her.
On Wednesday, Oonah McCrann SC, for the Lucey siblings, told the court that after all sides had agreed to mediation, it had been brought forward to Saturday morning instead of the scheduled date of the following Tuesday.
“We woke up to the sad news on Saturday morning that Mrs Lucey had passed away,” counsel said.
She said mediation in the case continued, but after two days had finished at 10pm on Tuesday night and was unsuccessful.
She asked that the action now be reconstituted in the names of Mrs Lucey’s son Sean and her daughter Sinead who are executors of their mother’s will. She said they were ready to proceed with the hearing of the action next Friday.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross offered his sympathy to the family on their loss and said, while mediation has not been successful so far, it does not mean the parties cannot reengage with mediation in the case.
“It’s not over, until it’s over,” the judge said .
Mrs Lucey’s claims for general damages fell away when she died but the action can now be reconstituted as a fatal claim, with her children replacing her as plaintiffs.
The action is against the HSE, Clinical Pathology Laboratories Incorporated and MedLab Pathology Ltd in relation alleged misreading, misinterpretation or misreporting of Mrs Lucey's cervical smears taken in February 2011 and August 2011.
Mrs Lucey (73) Cooleen, Dingle, Co Kerry had 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 sued in relation to alleged, misreading or misinterpretation or misreporting of her cervical smears taken in February 2011 and August 2011.
It was claimed, 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. The claims are denied.