A mother with advanced cervical cancer says she feels ‘great relief and peace’ to have gotten financial security for her two daughters.
32-year-old Lynsey Bennett from Killoe in Co Longford today settled her legal action over an alleged misinterpretation of her smear sample.
In 2017, she was diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer, which required surgery.
Due to the delay in diagnosing it, she sued the HSE and the US lab that analysed her slide - claiming it was allowed to grow and spread without detection.
She settled for an undisclosed sum, and said afterwards that she hopes her 7 and 12 year-old daughters will now be free from financial worries.
In a statement read out in court today, the HSE expressed its “deep regret” to Ms Bennett and her family; however, there was no admission of liability.
'Remember, mammy loves you' - Lynsey Bennett's emotional message to her daughters after settling cervical smear case
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On The Hard Shoulder today, Lynsey said the settlement means that “all the fighting for my girls was worthwhile".
She said: “From an absolutely heartbreaking, devastating, life-changing situation… I can take comfort in knowing that as a mother I’ve left them with the financial means so they can hopefully have a nice future and pursue all their dreams.
“I was driven by the girls - it’s the biggest weight off my shoulders... I can concentrate on trying to stay alive now.
“I’ve done everything possible - for when I die and after I die - to make life as good for them… to give them as much peace as I can.”
Lynsey said she lost her own mother to cancer in her 20s, and that has driven her to be practical as she can in her own fight against the disease.
She told Kieran: “I’ve been organising goodbye videos for [my daughters], and making memory videos for them to have… getting stuff like that done.
“I organised my funeral the day after I found out - I wanted to have all my speeches and hymns, all the little notes for everybody to be ready… and for me to still be as much of me as people could remember, instead of being a very sick me.”
Lynsey has been through many rounds and types of hospital treatment for her cancer, and she says that radiation treatment in particular was ‘barbaric’ on her body.
She is expecting to start another round of hospital treatment soon, but first intends to travel to a cancer centre in Mexico for treatment there.
However, she said the treatments are now about keeping her alive for as long as possible, as the cancer she has is ‘extra aggressive’.
She said: “It’s not to cure me, it’s just to try to maintain the cancer."
While Lynsey saw the legal process through, she says she can see how others would walk away.
She said: “If anyone knew behind the scenes the amount of grilling and work that goes into having to get a case like that together… they’d completely understand the relief.
“It’s one of the hardest things I have actually had to do.
“Had I been in a relationship with a partner and not a single mother… I think I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep going. I just had to keep thinking of my girls.”
Despite the often difficult and exhausting circumstances, Lynsey says she has learned not to be angry about her situation.
She said: “When I had my hysterectomy… I was given this book all about gratitude. It changed my outlook on how I deal with things.
“I remember being grateful it wasn’t my family or my friends. It was me… as much as I didn’t want it, I said I was going to try my best to stay alive.
“I was absolutely devastated, and I’m sure there were bouts where I had anger. But I’ve always tried to remain calm and try my best to get on with it.”