Woman whose cancer diagnosis allegedly delayed now tube fed

Tipperary woman (34) who gave birth three weeks ago settles case for €700,000

A woman who sued over an alleged delay relating to a cancer diagnosis has settled her High Court action for €700,000. The settlement was made without admission of liability, the court heard.

Sarah O'Callaghan (34) gave birth to her daughter Daisy Mae just three weeks ago, on December 29th, and the court was told the bulk of the settlement is for the child.

Aidan Doyle SC, for Ms O’Callaghan, said she was now in a situation where she had to be tube fed six times a day.

The pregnancy posed a massive risk considering Ms O’Callaghan’s tumour, diagnosed as an unusual and aggressive form of throat cancer, he said.


Ms O'Callaghan, Lowergate, Cashel, Co Tipperary, had sued the HSE and a GP, Tom Purcell, of Tipperary Primary Care Centre, Rosanna Road, Tipperary, over alleged delay in the diagnosis of her throat cancer.

She claimed that, on multiple dates between August 22nd, 2014, and March 9th, 2016, she attended Dr Purcell, complaining of sore throat and a feeling of “something in her throat” together with soreness of her right ear.

On March 9th, 2016, the doctor referred her to the emergency department of University Hospital Limerick for examination where she was prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine.

Following that, she was seen on April 5th, 2016, at the ear, nose and throat outpatients clinic at the hospital.

She underwent a procedure in June 2016 but complained of a painful throat and difficulty swallowing afterwards.

On June 26th, 2016, she again visited the hospital emergency department stating she had been unable to swallow for three days. She was referred to the ear, nose and throat team the next day, underwent a CT scan and had another on July 6th.

A tumour was found which was confirmed as malignant on July 19th, 2016, after which she had chemotherapy treatment.

It was claimed there was failure to diagnose Ms O’Callaghan in a timely manner and this allegedly caused a delay in her cancer treatment.

At the time of diagnosis the tumour, it is claimed, measured 5cm and was below the Adam’s apple.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told full defences were lodged in the case and the settlement was without admission of liability.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross said it was a very prudent one and a very unfortunate case.