Terminally ill woman settles case against US lab over cancer misdiagnosis

Vicky Phelan was incorrectly told she did not have cancer in 2011

Terminally ill woman settles case against US lab over cancer misdiagnosis

Vicky Phelan speaks outside the Four Courts, 25-04-2018. Image: Frank Greaney

Updated 14:20

A terminally ill mother of two, who was wrongly told she did not have cancer in 2011, has settled her case against a US lab for €2.5m.

43-year-old Vicky Phelan - who lives in Annacotty, Co Limerick - was given less than a year to live in January.

In 2011, she was told there were no abnormalities found in the smear sample sent to Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc. in Austin, Texas.

But three years later, a review found the results were incorrect.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer around the same time, but she only found out about that review last year.

In January, she was given between six and twelve months to live and she, along with her husband Jim, sued the lab and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

This morning, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the case against the lab had been settled for €2.5m with no admission of liability - and the case against the HSE could be struck out.

Afterwards, Vicky thanked her family and friends who "supported my decision to take this case at a time when I really should have been concentrating on my health."

“There are no winners here today, I am terminally ill and there is no cure for my cancer,” she said.

"My settlement will mostly be spent on buying me time and on paying for clinical trials to keep me alive - and to allow me to spend more time with my children

“If I die - and I truly hope that won’t be the case - the money will help me provide for my family.” 

Some €700,000 of the settlement has already been earmarked for the couple's two young children.

After approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross turned to face Ms Phelan and said: "If anyone can beat this, you can".