The Plaintiff was in her early 20’s and attended her GP in April 2005 with a lump in her breast. She was referred on to the Defendant hospital breast clinic.
She attended the Defendant hospital in the middle of July 2005 which was three weeks later. At that stage, she had an 8mm mobile lump in her breast and was referred for an ultrasound three weeks later.
In early August 2005 the Plaintiff attended the Defendant hospital and an ultrasound was carried out. Microcysts were diagnosed and the Plaintiff was referred home.
The lump in her breast continued to grow and by February 2006, the Plaintiff returned to her GP. Seven days later, having been referred again by her GP the Plaintiff attended the Defendant’s breast clinic during the third week in February. At that stage she was found to have a large lump in her breast. She was again referred for further breast imaging which was delayed for a further six weeks. A diagnosis of breast cancer therefore was not made until the first week of April 2006 (a delay of 8 months). By that stage, the tumour in her breast was inoperable.
The Plaintiff was commenced on extensive chemotherapy. Unfortunately, whilst the tumour reduced in size the Plaintiff underwent a mastectomy 8 months later in December 2006. Prior to that because of changes found on PET scanning, secondaries were thought to have emerged in other areas of her body including her spleen. Her spleen was also removed. Unfortunately, it would seem that there was no cancer in her spleen or indeed in any other areas suspected and the general view by both the hospital and the experts involved in the case was that it was either due to a vaccine or the Plaintiff having contracted an old virus some time previously.
The Plaintiff pleaded that the Defendants were negligent in failing to carry out a biopsy when she attended for the ultrasound in August 2005, failure to refer her to a consultant when the ultrasound hadn’t been carried out and failure to diagnose the cancer in her breast resulting in a delay of 8 months. This rendered the Plaintiff to a life threatening situation reducing her life expectancy.
The Defendants delivered a Defence admitting that they failed or neglected to review the Plaintiff and the results of the ultrasound examination which took place in August 2005 and failed to take the appropriate steps to ensure that the Plaintiff attended for treatment. However, the Defendants also pleaded that whilst they admitted that her condition worsened over the period of delay of 8 months, their Defence was that they “caught it in time” according to their Counsel.
Proceedings were initiated on behalf of the Plaintiff in October 2006 and a Trial date was obtained for April 2008. The case settled 2 months before Trial for the sum of €400,000.00 plus costs
03 September 2008