The family of a 36-year-old Cork mother who died of cervical cancer have settled complaints in the High Court over the alleged misreporting of her smear test.
Hairstylist Julie Quinlan Dingivan was six weeks pregnant with her third child when she underwent a radical hysterectomy after being diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in 2013.
Her family’s solicitor, Patrick Treacy SC, told the High Court that Julie’s cancer had come back over six months later and she had undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy but tragically the disease had progressed and she died on April 8, 2017.
The attorney said Ms. Quinlan Dingivan had a 2009 swab under the national CervicalCheck screening program that was tested at a US lab and came back with no abnormalities found.
Mr Treacy said it was her case that a review of the 2009 swab was carried out in January 2014, which showed the original swab report was wrong, and the result was sent to a consulting gynecologist two years later. The lawyer said Julie, who was in the final year of her life, or her husband were not informed of the outcome of the screening.
Julie’s husband, Paul Dingivan, was notified of the review outcome in May 2018, which the court had heard from Vicky Phelan around the time of the Vicky Phelan trial, and a settlement was reported.
Mr Dingivan, of Fermoy, Co Cork, has settled on confidential terms a lawsuit he brought on behalf of his family over the death of his wife. A separate nervous shock lawsuit brought by Julie’s 21-year-old stepdaughter Jasmine McCarthy, also of Fermoy, against the HSE was also settled on confidential terms.
The comparisons are made without admission of liability.
The case was before Mr Judge Paul Coffey for splitting the €35,000 statutory mental distress payment.
Paul Dingivan, Dun Eala, Fermoy, Co. Cork, had sued HSE and US lab Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, which performed the tests on Julie’s swab taken as part of the November 2009 national CervicalCheck screening program .
Ms. Quinlan Dingivan had a cervical swab done on November 16, 2009. The specimen was evaluated by Quest Diagnostics laboratory and reported negative for lesion or malignancy abnormalities on December 15, 2009.
Julie was diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer on May 15, 2013 and underwent a radical hysterectomy and other procedures.
Over six months later, she was diagnosed with a recurrence of her cancer and underwent chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and brachytherapy. However, the disease progressed and she passed away in April 2017.
It has been alleged that following Julie’s diagnosis, and without her or her husband, reviews of swab tests on women diagnosed with cervical cancer were conducted by the HSE.
A review of Julie’s 2009 slide, conducted on January 8, 2014, is said to have shown that the original report regarding the smear was incorrect. This, it is claimed, was not communicated to either Julie or her husband. Mr. Dingivan was informed of the outcome of the review in 2018.
It has been alleged that the 2009 swab was allegedly misinterpreted or reported and that Julie was allegedly deprived of the opportunity for timely and effective investigation and treatment of her condition.
It was further claimed that there was an alleged failure to notify Julie and her husband of the result of the swab check in good time, either before her death or before May 2018. The claims were denied.
Mr Judge Paul Coffey approved the division of the solatium and noted the settlements and expressed his deepest sympathy to Mr Dingivan and the entire family.