A High Court action taken by Orla Church, a 54-year-old cervical cancer sufferer, has been settled just days following her untimely passing.
Legal representative for Mrs Church, Barrister Richard Kean, informed Justice Kevin Cross that a settlement has been agreed in the case and that Ms Church’s father, Charles Church, along with the dead woman’s sister were present in court for the hearing.
Counsel said that mediation in the case had not been possible to proceed, as had been indicated to the court when it was last mentioned before the judge just days before Ms Church died. Justice Cross offered his sympathies to the Church family on her death. He also thanks the respective legal teams for reaching a settlement.
Mrs Orla Church, of Elm Mount Avenue in Beaumont, had submitted the legal action against the HSE and US laboratory Quest Diagnositcs Incorporated of Delaware as a result of the failure of the smear tests she underwent to return a positive result for cervical cancer. The test took place as part of the CervicalCheck screening programme for Irish women.
Ms Church underwent a smear test in September 2011 which was examined at a laboratory managed by Quest Diagnositcs. It is claimed that the results of the laboratory screening stated that there was no abnormality detected and Mrs Church was referred to continue with a regular screening timeline.
Ms Church had a subsequent routine smear test in September 2014 and the official laboratory report, once again, stated that there were no abnormalities present in the sample. However, Mrs Church attended hospital in December 2015 as she was experiencing pelvic pain. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer with a tumour of over 4cms showing up in a resulting scan.
After a review of her 2011 and 2014 tests it is claimed that the results had since been changed amended in both instances. However, this claim was later amended to state that there had been no change to the outcome of the 2011 smear test, only the 2014 smear test result had been tampered with. All claims were denied by the defendants.
In her cervical cancer failure to diagnose compensation action Ms Church claimed that the reporting by the Quest Diagnostics laboratory lead to a false negative result both in September 2011 and in September 2014. By September 2017, she had suffered a sever downturn in her health and was advised in May 2018 there was a recurrence of her cancer, with secondary tumours now present in her kidneys.
The Church family, through their legal team, thanked the court and court registrar Grainne O’Loughlin for expediting the matter.