“My settlement will mostly be spent on buying me time and on paying for clinical trials to keep me alive and to allow me spend more time with my children”
A 43-year old mother of two dying of cervical cancer who had sued over a smear test taken seven years ago has settled her High Court action for €2.5million.
Vicky Phelan launched the legal proceedings after it emerged her smear test which showed no abnormalities was later in a review found to be incorrect.
She told the High Court she was extremely angry she was not told of the 2014 review of her smear test for another three years.
“I was in shock when I was told. I am angry, extremely angry. If I was diagnosed I probably would have had to have a procedure and at worsen a hysterectomy.” she said.
She added: “If I was told sooner I would not be in a position of a terminal cancer diagnosis.”
Outside court Mrs Phelan called for an investigation in to the CervicalCheck screening programme.
“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 Cervical Check programme as a result of this.”
Ms Phelan broke down in tears as she thanked her husband Jim and family.
“To my family and friends and my supporters who supported my decision to take this case at a time I really should be concentrating on my health, I would not have been able to do this without you.” she said.
She added; “There are no winners here today, I am terminally ill and there is no cure for my cancer. My settlement will mostly be spent on buying me time and on paying for clinical trials to keep me alive and to allow me spend more time with my children.”
“If I die – I truly hope that won’t be the case – the money will provide for my family,” she said as her husband Jim comforted her.
She thanked her solicitor Cian O’Carroll and her legal team for believing in her and bringing the case before the courts so quickly.
She also thanked Mr Justice Kevin Cross who heard three days of evidence before the settlement was announced and said he was at all times conscious she was a terminally ill woman.
Ms Phelan said evidence of a medical expert on their side in court on Tuesday had led to the settlement of the case.
Mrs Phelan was given the tragic news last January that without palliative chemotherapy she has just six months to live and with the chemotherapy about twelve months.
Her counsel Jeremy Maher SC instructed by Cian O’ Carroll solicitor told the court at the outset of the case if Mrs Phelan’s cervical cancer had been detected in 2011 when she had that smear test the young mother could have had a simple procedure and there was a 90 per cent chance she could have been cured.
Counsel said experts on the Phelan side would say she would not have developed invasive cancer and would have survived into her 80s, but she will die by the end of the year .
“She should have another forty years to look forward to but she has a couple of months, “Counsel said.
On the fourth day of the hearing today the young mother and her husband Jim were in court as the settlement was announced. The court was was asked to make directions in relation to the part of the settlement which is for the Phelan children Amelia (12) and Darragh (7).
Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he was delighted the case had settled. Approving the settlement he said Ms Phelan was one of the most impressive witnesses he had co me across in his court.
The case against the HSE was struck out and the settlement was against the US laboratory Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas only. The settlement was without admission of liability.
Wishing tMs Phelan success in the future as she attempts to go to the US for groundbreaking treatment the judge said : “ If anyone can beat this you can.”
The judge also praised the legal teams for getting the case which was only started inFebruary this year to court in record time.
The mother of two who has recently started on new drug is still hopeful of being accepted on to the US programme offering radical innovative treatment and has already raised €200,000 though a Go Fund Me page.
Article courtesy of : Tim Healy Independent.ie