Vicky Phelan, a terminally-ill mother of two, has settled her case against a US lab for €2.5m after being incorrectly advised that she did not have cancer in 2011.
Mrs Phelan from Annacotty, Co Limerick was told in January 2017 that she has less than 12 months to live. In 2011 she had been advised that there were no abnormalities present in the smear sample sent to Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc. in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately, following her next smear test in 2014 it was found that she now had cervical cancer. Unbeknownst to Mrs Phelan, the company that tested the sample in 2011 found , in a review that those result had been incorrect. She was not advised of this discovery until 2017.
Legal representative for Mrs Phelan argued, in her High Court compensation action which began last week, that if the cancerous cells had been correctly detected in 2011 she would have had a standard procedure that would have given her a 90% chance of survival.
Her (Mrs Phelan’s) legal action against the Health Service Executive was struck out as the cervical cancer misdiagnosis compensation settlement was awarded against the US laboratory Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas only, with no admission of liability required.
Following the announcement of the cancer misdiagnosis compensation Mrs Phelan spoke outside the court and called made a plea for an investigation into the CervicalCheck screening programme to be begun.
She 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 giving approval for the smear test compensation settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he was satisfied the case had settled and referred to Ms Phelan as one of the most impressive witnesses he had seen in his court. Additionally he praised the legal teams for getting the compensation action, was only launched in February 2017, to court as quickly as they had.
The mother of two mum, who has recently begun treatment with a new drug, is still hopeful of being taken on to the US programme offering radical innovative treatment and she has already raised €200,000 through a Go Fund Me page. Judge Cross wished Mrs Phelan the best in her this endeavor and said he believed that if anyone could beat this it is her.