Dialysis cancer patients to get life-saving therapy

Family challenged initial decision not to provide radioactive iodine therapy

Eileen Hyland, who died in 2017. Her son describes hospital’s decision as ‘fitting legacy’ which he hopes ‘ will help a lot more families in the future’.

Eileen Hyland, who died in 2017. Her son describes hospital’s decision as ‘fitting legacy’ which he hopes ‘ will help a lot more families in the future’.

 

A life-saving new treatment for cancer patients who are on dialysis is being provided in the State for the first time following a legal case taken by a Cork family.

Cork University Hospital (CUH) has begun providing radioactive iodine therapy (RAIT) for cancer patients who are on dialysis, the hospital has confirmed.

The new service is being provided in fulfilment of a settlement reached last year with the family of a 68-year-old woman patient with thyroid cancer who had sued the hospital.

The family of Eileen Hyland had claimed there was a failure to investigate properly whether the therapy could be provided at the hospital for her.

In a letter read to the High Court after the case was settled, the hospital undertook to provide the therapy for dialysis patients.

Mrs Hyland, who suffered from end-stage renal failure and was undergoing dialysis, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in July 2016. She had a total thyroidectomy at Cork University Hospital a few months later.

In October 2016, it was recommended she be treated with RAIT but the family were told this treatment was not available to a patient on dialysis. The family claimed this advice was wrong. The HSE denied the claim but made a confidential settlement.

Mrs Hyland died in May 2017. In the letter, CUH expressed sincere regret at her “untimely death”.

Her son James, who lives in the US, said the family had fought for the new facility for dialysis patients. “This is a fitting legacy to our mum and we hope this will help a lot more families in the future.

“It’s also a reminder that any letter received as a letter of regret from the HSE which also highlights a commitment to change needs to be fully followed up until confirmation of agreement has been met,” he said.

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