Medical Negligence

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Teenager with skin cancer who sued over misdiagnosis settles action for €2m

Liability admitted in case where boy’s cancer not diagnosed for two years

A teenage boy with skin cancer who sued over the misdiagnosis of a malignant lesion as benign when he first went to hospital has settled his High Court action for €2 million.

The boy’s cancer was not diagnosed for two years and was discovered when he went back with a grape size lump on his neck which turned out to be cancerous, the High Court heard.

In an apology read to the court, the Adelaide & Meath Hospital incorporating the national children’s hospital, Tallaght, Dublin, and Children’s Health Ireland, Crumlin, Dublin, said they wished to confirm that mistakes were made in the diagnosis and treatment of the boy.

“We wish to take this opportunity to say how sorry we are for what has happened. We hope we have learned from our errors to ensure that this will never happen again,” the apology added.

The teenager, who cannot be identified by order of the court, had sued the Adelaide & Meath Hospital, Dublin, incorporating The national children’s hospital, Tallaght and Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin.

It was claimed they were negligent and in breach of duty in failing to correctly interpret, diagnose and report on the specimen taken in 2018 after he had the lesion removed.

Liability was admitted in the case, which was before the court for assessment of damages only.

The teenager’s counsel, Jeremy Maher SC, instructed by Michael Boylan Solicitors, told the court the boy’s malignant lesion was treated instead as a benign mole.

In 2018, the boy’s parents had brought him to the Tallaght Hospital for the removal of the lesion.

The sample was sent to the Crumlin hospital for analysis.

At the opening of the action, Mr Maher SC, with Declan Doyle SC, said that because it was identified as benign the melanoma was not diagnosed for over two years.

“He was discharged without the appropriate follow-up,” counsel added.

Counsel said the teenager subsequently developed a lump on his neck. A further biopsy was carried out and it was found to be metastatic malignant melanoma. A scan later confirmed the skin cancer.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said it was fair and reasonable.

The Irish Times

20th July 2022

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