The HSE has settled an action for damages arising from the death of a Donegal mother of three over failures to diagnose her breast cancer.
Letterkenny General Hospital has issued an unreserved apology to the family of Melissa Hamilton (34) that her cancer was not recognised and treated at an earlier stage.
Mrs Hamilton from Killgordon in Co Donegal died in September 2011, nine days after giving birth to her third daughter by emergency Caesarean section.
She had been diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of weeks earlier while heavily pregnant with her third daughter.
Mrs Hamilton had first gone to her GP complaining of pain in her right breast in late 2009.
On two occasions she was referred to the breast care clinic at Letterkenny General Hospital – both times her disease was not diagnosed.
Her family sued the HSE and her GP for a series of failures in her care. Liability was admitted in a damages action against her GP and the HSE, but the High Court was being asked to assess damages.
Her husband, Seamus Hamilton, gave moving testimony of his wife's dying days and of telling his eldest daughter then aged 6 that her mummy was in heaven.
The family has settled an action for damages for €1.35m. €900,000 is to be handed over for the future care of the three young girls.
Letterkenny General Hospital has offered the family its deepest and sincere regrest and apologised unreservedly that the cancer was not diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage.
Mr Hamilton made this statement and spoke to the media outside court: