The HSE was, once again, in the position of apologizing to a patient of theirs in 2012. This time, to a 57-year old woman after continual failure to diagnose breast cancer.
On three separate occasions between September 2005 and March 2007, medical professionals assured Ms Fahey that she did not have breast cancer. However, 19 months after the initial diagnosis, it transpired that she had Grade 3 invasive cancer. She had to undergo a mastectomy three days later.
Reports Show Hospitals’ Continual Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer
A report into the matter found that there had been a significant and avoidable delay by Barrington’s Hospital in diagnosing Ms Fahey’s cancer. A second report founds that two medical professionals made significant errors at University Hospital Galway. It is of great concern that a single patient can be the victim of 3 cancer misdiagnoses over 19 months across 4 doctors and 2 hospitals.
Barrington’s Hospital commissioned their own report into their breast care services. This report was highly critical and led to the hospital withdrawing voluntarily from providing such care.
HIQA carried out a Fitness to Practice Inquiry which found Dr Geagea incompetent. Dr Geagea was a Finnish doctor working on a locum contract. He had already been disciplined by Finnish authorities twice for incompetence before he came to Ireland. He was the only doctor disciplined, though he was only responsible for the final 3 weeks of the delay.
The HSE acknowledge the contribution Ms Fahey has made to breast cancer services in Ireland. Huge advances in symptomatic breast care were made as a result.
This acknowledgment came too late for Ms Fahey. The HSE contested her case for years, forcing her to lose her anonymity and privacy. This refusal to accept liability occurred even though the delay caused Ms Fahey’s chances of survival to drop from 90% to 35%.
Delays and failing to diagnose breast cancer makes recovery a more arduous process, and can sometimes prove deadly. Families place their loved one’s lives in the hands of medical professionals and expect at the very least, reasonable care to be exercised.
Ms Fahey’s case against the HSE and Barrington’s settled out of court in October 2012. Seven years after her first misdiagnosis.
If you or a loved one have concerns about your medical care, legal advice and guidance is available from the team at Power Solicitors. We, at Power Solicitors have experience in the area of missed and delay diagnoses and welcome your call.
Please contact Melanie Power direct on 061-513055, or through email: [email protected].