The Health Service Executive has admitted it was liable for administering treatment for cancer that was not appropriate for the case, with the case due to be heard in Dublin’s High Court.
Kevin McMahon, then aged fifty-eight from Roxboro, Co. Limerick, attended his General Practitioner’s with a sore throat in July 2010. He was subsequently sent to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, where doctors examined his throat. They noticed a lesion and proceeded to take a biopsy.
A second biopsy of the lesion was schedules that October, as there were concerns that Mr McMahon had cancer. However, that appointment was cancelled and another one was not rescheduled until January 2011.
It was during that January appointment that Mr McMahon’s cancer was diagnosed. The patient was told that he required immediate fourteen-hour operation to remove his larynx, meaning he now has to communicate through an artificial voice box.
However, after the procedure, Mr McMahon discovered that targeted radiotherapy was an alternative method of treating the cancer. He sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim against the Mid-Western Regional Hospital and Health Service Executive for inappropriate treatment of his cancer.
Mr McMahon alleged in the claim that there was no open discussion with him concerning possible treatment, and as such the decision to undergo the operation that removed his larynx was made without adequate informed consent. He also claimed that the delayed second appointment allowed the cancer to develop further and cause preventable damage, which caused him emotional trauma.
Initially, the HSE denied any liability in Mr McMahon’s injuries until a fortnight ago, just before the claim was scheduled to be heard in Dublin’s Hight Court. The hearing proceeded as planned, but Mr Justice Kevin Cross will now be asked to assess the value of the compensation settlement Mr McMahon is to receive.