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Cervical Cancer Misdiagnosis / Delay in Diagnosis

The HSE confirmed that 221 women developed cervical cancer after been given the all clear from smear tests taken some years prior.

The cervical cancer scandal first came to light following on from a High Court action by a Limerick based woman Vickey Phelan. The case was taken as a result of delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer. The case was taken against a US based Laboratory sub-contracted by cervical check Ireland to examine smear tests. In the case of Ms. Phelan, a 2011 smear test showed no abnormalities, but this was later found to be incorrect. As a consequence of the incorrect assessment, what followed was a delay in appropriate treatment.

To further compound the issue, an audit was carried out in 2016 which revealed the errors, but this was not revealed to the patients. There are now many cases issued against the HSE and the laboratories arising from this issue.
In the last few months, a further review was carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK of 1,034 women’s slides. Unfortunately, this audit has revealed that 308 women (diagnosed with cervical cancer) received incorrect smear tests. It revealed that for 159 of these women a correct result could have prevented them getting cancer or having it diagnosed at an earlier stage. This may have resulted in the reduction of severity and improving their chances of survival. There was also 27 women identified who were referred for investigation after a test and received sub-standard colposcopy care (which could have prevented cancer). The audit further revealed that unfortunately 12 of this group are deceased.

If you have been affected by this recent audit and want legal advice, or advice generally with regards to medical negligence in Ireland, please feel free to contact Martin Kerrigan Solicitor of this firm at