In excess of 2,000 calls were recorded by the special CervicalCheck Helpline, set up by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the aftermath of revelations that a number of women were given the incorrect smear test results in 2011. A review of the test results in 2014 identified that the mistakes had occurred but those impacted were not notified for a further three years, during which time it is believed that a number of these women passed away.
Vicky Phelan, who was informed in January 2018 that she has between 6-12 months to live settled her High Court Compensation against the US laboratory last week Ms Phelan for €2.5m incorrect diagnosis compensation.
Ms Phelan has claimed that she was told in September 2017 that she was just one of ten women whose results were re-examined in 2014 by the laboratory. When she asked her doctor if any of those affected by the incorrect smear test results had died, he said he knew of three individuals who had passed away.
The head of the CervicalCheck programme Ms Gráinne Flannelly, has resigned from her position due to the controversy which recently came to light. Time the cervical cancer had become terminal.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney revealed, in an interview RTÉ’s that the Government has already begun to introduce changes smear test procedures and the manner in which patients are made aware of an incorrect diagnosis. Mr Coveney said: “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”.
The special phoneline was launched last weekend to answer queries from all concerned people. A representative for the HSE’s Serious Incident Management Team (SIMT) was extremely busy. He stated: “The SIMT was informed that the helpline was once again very busy today. As of 1:30pm there were 614 contacts.”
The High Court has given approval for a €10m compensation settlement for an 11-year-old girl who has suffered with cerebral palsy since, and due to, her delivery on September 26, 2006 at Mayo General Hospital.
Legal representative for Rachel Hynes, Denis McCullough, said in court that her parents were extremely eager to finish the process with a final lump sum compensation payment. He commented that this is because Rachel and her family found the legal process, involving medical examinations and assessments before each court appearance, very trying.
Approving the cerebral palsy compensationaward against the HSE, President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly pointed to the fact that this would have been Rachel’s third time in court. She had to go through “a battery of tests and assessments” before each subsequent appearance.
Ms Hynes was brought to Mayo General on September 27 and the next day they began to induce the birth and syntocinon was started after midday.
Rachel was born in poor physical condition. It was claimed in court that there was a failure to adequately manage the labour, delivery and birth of Rachel. The court heard liability was accepted in the case. Rachel requires one-to-one care because she is in danger of falling, Senior Counsel Denis McCullough told the court.
Rachel is currently in fifth class at school and it is envisaged that she will go on to attend both secondary school and receive third level education. When Justice Peter Kelly announced the approval, Rachel thanked him publicly.
Mr Justice Kelly remarked that is a rare occasion when judges are thanked and he was very grateful to Rachel for this. He said that it was a good compensation settlement, which will allow Rachel to receive the care she will needs for the foreseeable future.
Dublin’s High Court have upheld a multi-million settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to birth injuries after an appeal was made concerning its high value, though the case may still proceed to the Supreme Court for resolution.
Gill Russell, from Aghada in County Cork, was born on the 12th July 2006 in the Erinville Hospital. However, he was born with dyskinetic cerebral palsy after what has been described as a “prolonged and totally chaotic” delivery. Karen, Gill’s mother, made a claim for birth injuries due to medical negligence compensation against the hospital and the Health Service Executive. Liability was admitted by the HSE, and an interim settlement was awarded by the High Court in Dublin.
It was not until December 2014 that a final award of €13.5 million was approved by the Mr Judge Kevin Cross in the High Court, which was the largest award ever made by the court for a cerebral palsy claim. The settlement was appealed by the HSE, who argued that Judge Cross had used too low a rate of interest to calculate the return investment of the lump sum.
The case was heard earlier this month at the Court of Appeals, where a panel consisting of three judges, upheld the settlement of compensation. The judges argued that using a higher rate of interest – which the HSE argues is normal for the court – would result in a severely disabled person taking “unjust and unacceptable risks” by investing their lump sum to safeguard their financial security.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine – one of the three judges on the panel – commented that it was not the purpose of the courts to decide how a claimant was going to invest their award when determining its value. The judge also commented that, had the government succeeded in passing legislation that would allow structured, periodic payments, the HSE would not be in this situation.
However, despite the Appeals Court’s ruling, the case is unlikely to be resolved, The State Claims Agency have warned that the case could set a precedent that could cost the insurance industry up to €10 billion over the next ten years, The HSE have also indicated that they will likely take the case to the Supreme Court.