Tuesday, February 18, 2020

By Ann O’Loughlin

A woman who attended a mobile BreastCheck clinic for a mammogram when she had a concern about a lump on her breast has sued in the High Court claiming there was an alleged misdiagnosis.

Siobhan Freeney outside court today. Pic: Collins

Mother of two Siobhan Freeney claims her mammogram taken in June 2015 was allegedly read incorrectly. She was told in a letter from BreastCheck a few days later her mammogram was clear. She alleges the mammogram should have been read as highly suspicious for cancer and she should have been referred for further assessment.

Six months later Siobhan Freeney was diagnosed with cancer in her right breast and she claims her cancer should have been diagnosed earlier when she had a mammogram in the mobile breast clinic when it came to her local town of Gorey, Co Wexford.

As a result of the alleged delay in her diagnosis. Ms Freeney claims the opportunity to detect the cancer at an early stage was missed, her counsel Jeremy Maher SC told the High Court.

Opening the action, Mr Maher SC instructed by Cian O’Carroll solicitor said it is their case there was an alleged delay in the diagnosis of Ms Freeney’s breast cancer.

Counsel said her cancer was not diagnosed until December 2015 and it is their contention it ought to have been diagnosed six months earlier when Ms Freeney attended a mobile BreastCheck clinic and had a mammogram in June 2015.

At the mobile clinic, counsel said, Ms Freeney was not referred for further assessment as they contend she ought to have been. If she had, he said it was their case a triple assessment including a clinical assessment mammogram and ultrasound would have taken place and identified the cancer.

Siobhan Freeney (aged 59) of Clonattin, Gorey, Co Wexford, has sued the HSE. She has claimed there was an alleged failure to refer her for further assessment including ultrasound examination on June 17, 2015.

She has further claimed there was an alleged failure to advise, treat and care for her in a proper skilful, diligent and careful manner and alleged failure to use reasonable care, skill and judgment when reviewing her mammogram taken on June 17, 2015.

She has further claimed there was an alleged failure to identify that features in her mammogram of her right breast taken on June 17, 2015, were suspicious of cancer and she was allegedly deprived of the opportunity of timely and effective investigation and management of her condition.

A situation, it is claimed, was caused where the June 17, 2015, mammogram was allegedly misdiagnosed or misreported and there was an alleged failure to ensure any proper adequate or effective system of monitoring, supervision or overview of Ms Freeney and her condition.

All the claims are denied.

Had her cancer been detected in June 2015, counsel said, Ms Freeney would have required a mastectomy. But he said the cancer would have been smaller and she would not have required radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

He said their case was the mammogram taken in the mobile clinic was incorrectly reported as indicating no evidence of cancer. Experts on their side, he said, will say that if Ms Freeney had been referred on for further assessment the cancer would have been identified.

“The opportunity to detect the cancer at an early stage was missed,” Mr Maher said.

The case before Ms Justice Niamh Hyland continues tomorrow.

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