Irish Cancer Society Provides Extra Counselling for Those Impacted by CervicalCheck Scandal

The Irish Cancer Society has also revealed that it is making emergency funding for an extra 500 counselling sessions in their centres across the country. The Society made this announcement in order to alleviate some of the worry among those impacted by the controversy.

In tandem with this the Government has announced that a cervical smear test will be provided for free to everyone who is worried after the recent revelations in the CervicalCheck scandal.

This offer is being made available to ease the concern associated with the revelations of the incorrect cervical smear test results being discovered. This provision of this service being revealed come after a meeting of senior doctors who sought to address the concerns over the confidence in the CervicalCheck Screening programme was held.

Following a cancer misdiagnosis settlement of €2.5m was announced for Ms Vicky Phelan last week, the CervicalCheck Scandal came to public attention. Ms Phelan had  a cervical smear in 2011 that showed no signs associated with the early stages of cervical cancer. In 2014 a subsequent audit on the results was carried out that indicated the results of that 2011 test were false. Ms Phelan was not advised of this error until 2017 and she now had cervical cancer. In January 2018 she was told that she has just 12 months to live. It was claimed, during the legal action, that her chances of survival would have been 90% if the cancer had been correctly diagnosed in 2011.

The following Support Centres are funding by The Irish Cancer Society nationwide and will be able to provide free professional counselling:


  • ARC Cancer Support Centres, Dublin
  • Arklow Cancer Support Group, Wicklow
  • Balbriggan Cancer Support Centre
  • Ballinasloe Cancer Support Centre
  • Cancer Support Sanctuary, LARCC
  • Cois Nore, Kilkenny Cancer Support Centre
  • Cork ARC Cancer Support House
  • Cuan Cancer Social Support and Wellness Group, Co Cavan
  • Cúisle Centre, Portlaoise
  • Dochas Offaly Cancer Support, Tullamore
  • Donegal Cancer Flights & Services
  • Eist, Carlow Cancer Support Centre
  • Gary Kelly Cancer Support, Drogheda
  • Greystones Cancer Support
  • Hope Cancer Support Centre, Enniscorthy
  • Letterkenny Donegal– administered through Sligo Cancer Support
  • Mayo Cancer Support Association, Castlebar
  • Midwestern Cancer Foundation, Limerick
  • Recovery Haven Cancer Support House, Tralee
  • Roscommon Cancer Support Centre
  • Sligo Cancer Support Centre
  • Solas Cancer Support Centre, Waterford
  • Suaimhneas Cancer Support Centre, Nenagh
  • Tallaght Cancer Support Group, Dublin
  • Tuam Cancer Care Centre




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CervicalCheck Helpline Takes Over 2,000 Calls in Three Days

There were over 2,000 calls registered by the CervicalCheck Helpline, established by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to tackle public concerns following the discovery that the results of smear tests completed by a US laboratory in 2014 may have failed to detect the early signs of the disease.

After being made available last weekend a HSE spokesman said that the phoneline, which was put in place by the Serious Incident Management Team (SIMT) was very busy from the time it opened. He stated: “The SIMT was informed that the helpline was once again very busy today. As of 1:30pm there were 614 contacts.”

Minister for Health Mr Simon Harris, speaking at the weekend, had directed that a senior team be put in place to look into CervicalCheck procedures and investigate the 206 cases of the women affected by the screening controversy. The team were mandated to examine each separate case to see if any of the females involved were advised of the delayed cervical cancer diagnosis. Mr Harris also said that he no longer had confidence in the CervicalCheck Senior Management.

Mr Simon Coveney, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, revealed in an interview RTÉ’s that the Government has already moved to make amendments to the system of reporting so that an incident like this will be avoided going forward. Mr Harris commented: “I think learning from this case, I think the Government will move forward on the recommendation of Minister Harris that in cases like this patients are entitled to information quickly. Sometimes it takes cases like Vicky Phelan’s cases to ensure policy change happens quickly”.

Gráinne Flannelly, Head of CervicalCheck programme, resigned from her role in the aftermath of the controversy. This came following the legal action taken by Vicky Phelan due to an incorrect smear test result that was completed in 2011. A 2014 audit by showed that the 2011 smear test results were incorrect. However, Ms Phelan was not told about this until September 2017, by which time the cervical cancer had become terminal.

Recently, in January 2018 Vicky Phelan, was informed that she has between 6-12 months to live. In the High Court action against the US laboratory last week Ms Phelan was awarded €2.5m compensation.

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206 Women Develop Cancer Despite Being Given All Clear

It has been revealed, last night, by the Health Service Executive (HSE) that over 200 women have contracted cervical cancer following a misdiagnosed smear in the free national screening programme.

The initial smear tests in 2011 did not identify abnormal cells which need to be extracted before becoming cancerous. If these women had been referred to for treatment following the initial test they would have had a 90% chance of preventing the cancer.

According to a spokesperson for the HSE, having overlooked the tests in question, it was found 173 women should have been referred to colposcopy  as soon as possible. Another 33 women should have been referred for a repeat smear earlier than 2014. According to CervicalCheck the women went on to be diagnosed with cancer at a later date.


In most cases there has been no requirement for further review. However, in 442 cases, review was neccessary.

Rather than contacting the women directly CervicalCheck advised the women’s doctors to communicate directly with their affected patients.

They said: “These communications related to events prior to the diagnosis and would have had no impact on the care management and treatment of the women after they were diagnosed.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris and HSE chief Tony O Brien decided yesterday to have CervicalCheck investigated by senior staff in another cervical screening programme from a separate jurisdiction.

The new figures have been revealed just two days after mother-of-two Vicky Phelan, who has terminal cervical cancer, being awarded €2.5m in the High Court.

Ms Phelan had a false negative smear test result in 2011 but developed symptoms in 2014 and was diagnosed with cancer. She has now been given less than 12 months to live.

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Terminally-Ill Mother Awarded €2.5m in Misdiagnosis Compensation Claim Against US Lab

A 43-year-old terminally ill mother of two, who was wrongly told she did not have cancer in 2011, has settled her case against a US lab for €2.5m.

Vicky Phelan from Annacotty, Co Limerick has recently been told that she has less than a year to live. Despite this, she plans to travel to the US in the hope that she will be accepted to a new programme for ground-breaking treatment to try and treat her illness.

Mrs Phelan was advised, following a test in 2011, she was told there were no abnormalities found in the smear sample sent to Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc. in Austin, Texas. However, following another smear test in 2014 she was told that she had cervical cancer. This was following the company that carried out the initial completing a review that showed the initial results were wrong. Despite this discovery Vicky was not advised of the mistake  that had been made until 2017.

Mrs Phelan’s legal team claimed, in her High Court action which began last week, that if the cancerous cells had been properly detected in 2011 she would have had a straightforward procedure with a 90% chance of survival.

Mrs Phelan’s action against the Health Service Executive was dismissed and the final clinical misdiagnosis compensation settlement was against the US laboratory Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas only. The settlement was without admission of liability.

After the announcement of the medical negligence award Vicky Phelan, speaking outside the court, made a plea for a thorough investigation in the CervicalCheck screening programme to be carried out.

Mrs Phelan remarked said: “To know for almost three years a mistake had been made and I was misdiagnosed was bad enough but to keep that from me until I became terminally ill and to drag me through the courts to fight for my right to the truth is an appalling breach of trust and I truly hope some good will come of this case and there will be an investigation in the CervicalCheck programme as a result of this.”

In approving the cervical cancer misdiagnosis compensation settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he was happy the case had settled and described Ms Phelan as one of the most impressive witnesses he had seen in his court. He wished Mrs Phelan success in her attempts to travel to the the United States for treatment.

The mum, who has recently been treated with a new drug, is still hopeful of being accepted on to the US programme offering radical innovative treatment and she has already raised €200,000 through a Go Fund Me page.

Judge Cross also commended the the legal teams for getting the case which was only started in February this year to court as quickly as they had..


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€105,000 Workplace Accident Compensation Award for Former Supermarket Worker Following Cold Room Injury

€105,000 Workplace Accident Compensation Award for Former Supermarket Worker Following Cold Room Injury

The Court of Appeal (CoA) has upheld a €105,000 workplace accident award for a former part-time supermarket employee who suffered an injury when she fell while driving a pallet truck holding stock.

Pamela Phoenix, a 37-year-old female now living in Canada, and formerly of McDonnell Drive, Athy, Co Kildare, took the legal accident against Dunnes Stores in relation to the accident that occurred on September 18, 2006. Ms Phoenix was attempting to move the pallet truck backwards in a cold room when she slipped and fell heavily on her bottom and back.

Ms Phoenix was awarded her €105,929 workplace accident compensation in the High Court in 2016 after that court accepted that she suffered chronic back pain and depressive symptomatology due to the accident. By October 2007 she had gained a considerable amount of weight. The judge stated that he felt she was a credible witness who did not exaggerate the extent of her injuries.

The workplace compensation award was appealed by Dunnes. They argued that the cold room accident compensation award was excessive and disproportionate.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, speaking on behalf of the three-judge Court of Appeal, upheld the workplace compensation award saying while it was probably in the upper range of what is appropriate, given the role of an appeallate court in other case law, the Court of Appeal cannot take any action.

Following the accident Ms Phoenix was rushed by ambulance to St Lukes’ hospital in Kilkenny. Her X-rays came back clear and she was discharged with some pain-killing medication. In the days following the accident she had to use crutches to get around.

She had difficulty re-assuming the same workload that she had managed before the accident and changed jobs to a role with Elverys. In 2007, still suffering from a considerable amount of back pain, she lost that role. She also has difficulty in continuing her studies at Maynooth University and became very psychologically vulnerable, eventually suffering from depressions when she became pregnant and suffered a miscarriage in 2008. She eventually moved to Canada in 2013 where she married and had a baby boy in 2016.

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Girl (11) Damaged at Birth Awarded €10m Compensation Payout

The High Court has approved a €10m compensation settlement for an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy due to the circumstances of her birth at Mayo General Hospital.

This overall payment means that €12.2m is not the total amount paid to Rachel Gallagher of Straide, Foxford, Co Mayo.

Her legal representative Denis McCullough advised the court that Rachel’s parents felt strongly that they would like to complete the process with a final lump sum compensation payment. This is, he told the Hight Court, the Rachel and her family  found the ongoing process – including medical examinations and assessments before court appearances – extremely difficult.

Approving the birth injury compensation settlement against the HSE, President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly stated that this would have been Rachel’s third time in court. Prior to each Court appearance, she had to go through “a battery of tests and assessments” and this created a lot of trauma for Rachel and her family.

The judge said it was a good bith injury compensation settlement that would provide for Rachel for life. Ciara Hynes, Rachel’s mother, the HSE on her behalf in relation to the events around her birth on September 28, 2006.

Ms Hynes was taken to Mayo General on September 27 and the following morning they began to induce the birth and syntocinon was started after midday.

Rachel was delivered in poor condition. It was alleged there was a failure to adequately manage and monitor the labour, delivery and birth of the baby. The court heard negligence was accepted in the case. Senior Counsel Denis McCullough advised the court that Rachel required one-to-one care because she is in danger of falling.

Counsel told the court that she (Rachel) is currently in fifth class at school and it is hoped she will go on to attend both secondary school and university.

When the Judge announced the approval, Rachel put up her hand to be allowed to thank the judge, Mr Justice Kelly.

Mr Justice Kelly remarked said very few judges are thanked and he was very grateful to Rachel. He commented that it was a good settlement, which will provide Rachel with the care she will require for the remainder of her life.


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Cerebral Palsy Against the HSE Settled for €1.9m

A 20-year-old woman, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has won a €1.9m interim from the HSE after the way her birth was managed.

Shauni Breen, who was born at Wexford General Hospital just 40 minutes after her healthy twin sister, suffers from cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia and is restricted to a wheelchair. The High Court was told, by Ms Breen’s Legal Representative, that the medical team present at the time did not recognise that it was a high-risk labour.

Ms Breen, who now lives in Glanmire, Co Cork, Ms Breen began the birth compensation case against the HSE due to the events at the time of her delivery on December 30, 1997. Their mother Marie Foley was taken to Wexford General Hospital at 5am on the morning in question.  Following her healthy twin sister Nicole’s  birth at 6.10am the delivery of Shauni lasted for around 40 minutes and was, allegedly, handled in a negligent manner. There was no anesthetist present or adequate supporting team present to deal with every possible eventuality.

The HSE denied these claims in the High Court and argued that management of the birth complied with standard best practice and was consistent with normal procedures in Irish maternity units at the time of the birth in 1997.

Ms Breen’s team of legal representatives claimed that Shauni was showing an  abnormal presentation prior to delivery and should have been delivered by caesarean section within 15 minutes of Nicole’s birth. However, due to issues in the delivery of Ms Breen, she had to be resuscitated and was taken to another hospital.

High Court Judge Kevin Cross approved the €1.9m cerebral palsy birth injury compensation settlement. Ms Breen will come back to court in five years’ time when her future care needs will be assessed in relation to further required costs.

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Boy (8) Awarded Birth Accident Injury Compensation Award of €65,000

The High Court has approved a birth injury compensation settlement of €65,000 for a boy, now aged eight years old. Dara Brennan allegedly experienced a facial injury during his delivery at the Coombe Hospital on November 12, 2009.

It is thought that Dara, Brayton Park, Kilcock, Co Kildare, suffered the injury to his face as a result of an attempted forceps delivery at the hospital.

To this day resultant scarring and two indentations on the right side of his face remain visible when he smiles.

Lorraine Brennan, acting on behalf of her son, took the compensation action against the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital due to the alleged negligence Dara encountered during his birth.

Legal Counsel alleged that the incorrect use of forceps during the delivery inflicted the scars to right side of Dara Brennan’s face. Legal representatives for the boy claimed that there was an absence of the required level of care, competence, judgment and skill appropriate during the delivery of the boy.

It was argued that a more senior or experienced doctor in obstetrics should have attended the birth of Dara Brennan. Counsel for the Coombe Hospital denied these claims.

The High Court was advised by Dara’s legal team that liability was fully contested in the case. In addition, medical experts could not agree on the specific circumstances of the delivery.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross remarked, while approving the birth scarring compensation settlement said that it was as close to complete  compensation as possible for Dara Brennan.

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Medical Negligence Compensation Settlement in Malak Thawley Legal Action

An undisclosed compensation settlement has been agreed in relation to the medical negligence involved in the death of a woman, Malak Thawley, during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy in 2016.

Her husband, Alan Thawley settled his High Court action for medical negligence compensation.

Mrs Thawley, , a teacher and a US citizen, was pregnant with her  first when she died during a surgical  procedure at the Holles Street hospital on May 8, 2016. She was 34 years old.

Mr Thawley told the court last week that the death of his partner was due to a “cascade of negligence”. His legal representative, Liam Reidy SC, said that the doctor who was responsible for the surgical procedure that resulted in Malak’s death was an inexperienced junior surgeon.

He went on to say that the negligent actions of the medics included taking the decision was taken to cool Mrs Thawley’s brain with ice and then finding that there was no ice in the hospital. Following this two doctors were sent to a close by pub to get ice.

Presiding judge, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was advised that he could strike out the case as it had been settled for compensatory damages only and aggravated or exemplary damages were not included. There were no further details of the medical negligence settlement were provided.

Alan Thawley, speaking to the press outside the Court, said that he was glad to have come to a settlement after a long and difficult process. He remarked: “There is no compensation that could replace the profound loss of my wife’s untimely and needless death”.

Mr Thawley added: “The proceedings were brought forth to expose the cascade of negligence demonstrated by the hospital”.

He will also assisting with the Department of Health’s Ministerial Inquiry to help to prevent other people suffering, as he has, going forward.

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EMA Hearing on Epilim Addressed by Irish Woman

A Co Meath mother of three sons, who have suffered major illness as a result of complication caused  by the Epilepsy treatment drug Epilim, has addressed at the European Medicines Agency review (EMA) into its use by pregnant women.

In September 2017), Karen Keely, a representative of the Foetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome Forum impressed on the review hearing the ramifications that her sons have experienced due to her being prescribed the drug at the time she was pregnant with them. They will now face issue over the remainder of their lives, two of them can neverhope to live a ‘normal’ life.

Ms Keely said: ““I have been mourning my children since the day they came into my life and I’m determined to not let this injustice happen to other families in the same way that it has happened to mine.”

Karen implored that a national register in Ireland of those who were on the medicine and people who are being prescribed it in the future must be set up. In addition to this Ms Keely asked for more research into the scale of the problem and accountability to be funded and supported. According to her the HSE had information available on the Internet but wider publicity about it’s available is necessary.

The EMA public hearing, which begun on 9 March 2017 at the request of the French medicines regulator, ANSM hosted citizens of six European Union member states describing their experience to the PRAC (Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee) members attending. it has been acknowledged that Epilim can cause physical deformities, brain damages and autism in children whose mothers are treated with it when they are pregnant.  At present being considered a major factor in 40 cases of birth defects and disabilities, made known to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) in recent times.

The outcomes of the EMA review are predicted to lead to new recommendations regarding the use of Epilim in Ireland will be drawn up by the HPRA.


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