Progress reported in three CervicalCheck cases, court told

Legal actions have been brought by three women including Emma Mhic Mhathúna

Women, including  Emma Mhic Mhathúna (above) had sought the production of cervical smear slides taken from them so that appropriate pathologists and clinicians could study and report on them. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Women, including Emma Mhic Mhathúna (above) had sought the production of cervical smear slides taken from them so that appropriate pathologists and clinicians could study and report on them. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Progress has been made in actions brought by three women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy, including Kerry woman Emma Mhic Mhathúna, the High Court heard on Friday morning.

Their cases all arise out of the alleged misreading of cervical tests and involve patients who are terminally ill. They are all seeking early trial dates in their proceedings against parties including the HSE.

As part of their actions lawyers representing the three women, two of whom cannot be named for legal reasons, went before the High Court on Thursday seeking the production of documentation and cervical smear slides which they say they urgently require as part of their claims.

The women sought the production of cervical smear slides taken from them so that appropriate pathologists and clinicians could study and report on them.

The case was adjourned by Mr Justice Michael McGrath to see if matters could be advanced.

On Friday morning when the application returned before the court Patrick Tracey SC, instructed by solicitor Cian O’Carroll, for the three women said progress had been made in each of the three cases.

Counsel said that the slides, including ones which are in the United States, are to be transferred on Friday) to their representatives.

Counsel praised the efforts of the other parties who he said could not have been more helpful in regards to the provision of the slides.

Counsel said all three cases could be adjourned until next Wednesday’s sitting of the High Court when other matters arising out of the case are due to be raised.

Mr Justice McGrath welcomed the fact progress had been made overnight and agreed to put the matter back to Wednesday.

On Thursday Mr Treacy told the court that his clients needed the slides straight away.

He said negotiations with regards the putting in place of a protocol for the handing over of slides by Medlab Pathology Limited Ireland and a New Jersey laboratory Quest had led to the loss of a vital six days in dealing with the legal proceedings.

Lawyers for Medlab, and for Quest, told the court their clients were prepared to immediately hand over slides subject to directions of the HSE and the protocol agreed between the HSE and the plaintiffs.

In reply, Ms Eileen Barrington SC for the HSE said the matters raised which the HSE accepted they were critical and urgent, were being addressed.

She said the HSE had been given only a half-hour’s notice of requests for information from The National Maternity Hospital with regard to tests carried out in relation to two of the women in 2009 and 2010 and the hospital and the HSE were doing their best to deal with these new issues as quickly as possible.

Counsel said everything possible was being done to meet the demands of the plaintiffs but she was unable to give an exact time when the slides and documentation would be handed over.

Lawyers for Medlab, and for Quest, told the court their clients were prepared to immediately hand over slides subject to directions of the HSE and the protocol agreed between the HSE and the plaintiffs.