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High Court Hears Claim for the Missed Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

The High Court has heard the details of a claim for the missed diagnosis of breast cancer, made by a woman who underwent an allegedly unnecessary mastectomy.

Retired schoolteacher Eileen Fennessy (69) made the claim for the missed diagnosis of breast cancer after the “Breast Check” National Breast Screening Programme allegedly overlooked potential signs of cancer in a mammogram taken on 25th November 2011.

Eileen – from Piltown in County Kilkenny – was diagnosed with breast cancer the following year after her GP had discovered a large mass in her right breast. She was referred to Waterford Regional Hospital, where an ultrasound and biopsy confirmed the presence of a grade 2 carcinoma.

A course of chemotherapy was initiated straight away, but the treatment failed to reduce the size of the carcinoma and Eileen underwent a right side mastectomy in April 2013. Subsequent to the surgery, Eileen sought legal advice and made a claim for the missed diagnosis of breast cancer.

In her legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) – who oversee the “Breast Check” screening programme – Eileen alleged that the chemotherapy treatment and mastectomy would have been unnecessary if the correct diagnose of her condition had been made in 2011.

At the High Court, Eileen´s barrister told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that the mammogram taken in November 2011 should have raised suspicions of cancer and Eileen should have recalled for a further investigation. The failure to conduct a further investigation – it was alleged – exposed Eileen to an unnecessary risk of the cancer deteriorating.

Judge Cross also heard that, although Eileen is cancer free following the treatment she underwent, the underlying diagnosis for her future is “extremely serious and devastating”. The HSE denies the allegations and is contesting the claim for the missed diagnosis of breast cancer. The case continues at the High Court tomorrow.

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