Longford woman’s legal action over cervical cancer slide analysis delayed by two weeks

A 32-year-old mother of two who is seriously ill with cancer and is suing over the alleged misinterpretation of her cervical smear slides will have to wait until February to have her case heard at the High Court.

Lynsey Bennett’s case had been set down for an urgent hearing on January 20 but US laboratory Quest Diagnostics in the High Court today secured a two-week adjournment of the action until February,

Her counsel Jeremy Maher SC told the court the two weeks adjournment is a very significant ask for the young mother.
“Two weeks to her is an infinity,” Counsel said.

He told Mr Justice Kevin Cross Ms Bennett’s legal team is concerned about her health and he understood from her solicitor Gillian O’Mahony a two-week adjournment would be devastating for the young mother.

Counsel for Quest Diagnostics Emily Egan had applied to the court for what she called “a short indulgence” and an adjournment of the hearing of the action for a further two weeks.

Counsel said her side were not ready for the case to go ahead on January 20 and difficulties had arisen in relation to expert reports. She said in one case an expert had worked from an image of a slide and had not seen the actual smear slide.

“We are only a couple of days from trial and we just are not ready,” Counsel said.

Ms Egan said it was not possible to progress to mediation without the full expert reports.

Counsel said she appreciated that it is very difficult for Ms Bennett but it was impossible for Quest to be ready for January 20.

Mr Justice Cross set February 3 as the new date for the hearing of the action and he said he hoped the parties would move to mediation.

Lynsey Bennett, Ennybegs, Killoe, Co Longford has sued the HSE, Irish testing laboratory, Eurofins Biomnis Ireland Ltd, Sandyford Industrial Estate, Dublin and US laboratory Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, New Jersey over the alleged misinterpretation of her cervical smear slides taken under the national screening programme.

Ms Bennett had a smear test on February 3,2010 which was sent to Eurofins Biomnis in Dublin. The test it was claimed came back as negative and another smear test was recommended in three years.

On December 16,2013 Ms Bennett had another smear test as part of the national cervical screening programme. This sample was sent to US lab Quest Diagnostics and it was claimed came back as showing atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance. A smear test in twelve months was recommended.

On December 2,2014 Ms Bennett had another smear test and the sample was reviewed by Quest Diagnostics. It is claimed the result came back negative and she was advised by CervicalCheck there were no abnormalities and a repeat smear in a year was recommended.

It is claimed Ms Bennett had another smear test in January 2016 which was tested at the US laboratory Quest Diagnostics and she was told no abnormalities had been detected and she would be reminded to have her routine smear test in three years time.

Eleven months later it is claimed she went to her GP complaining of bleeding and was referred to hospital.

In January 2017, invasive cervical cancer was diagnosed, and Ms Bennett had to have a hysterectomy and other surgery.

In March 2018, she was found to have a recurrence of the cervical cancer.

It is claimed there was an alleged failure to correctly report or diagnose and an alleged misinterpretation of Ms Bennett’s smear samples.

Ms Bennett’s cancer it is claimed was allowed to develop and spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in January 2017.