A bereaved family is to receive €62,500 wrongful death compensation for the misdiagnosis of cancer after an apology was read out at the High Court.
The family of thirty-one year old Sharon McEneaney – who died from a cancerous tumour in her abdomen in April 2009 – was assembled in the High Court earlier this week to hear an apology read to them by a representative of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, were Sharon first went in October 2007 complaining of a pain in her abdomen.
The court heard how Dr Etop Samson Akpan failed to consider the possibility of a tumour, and it was not until June 2008 – after the intervention of former TD Dr Rory O´Hanlon – that a biopsy was conducted which revealed the presence of cancer. By then the cancer had advanced beyond the stage at which it could be treated, and Sharon died ten months later.
An investigation into Sharon´s death conducted by the Health Service Executive (HSE) resulted in thirty-eight separate recommendations being made to prevent the misdiagnosis of cancer happening again at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, while a hearing of the Medical Council of Ireland´s Fitness to Practise Committee found Dr Akpan guilty of a poor professional performance in January 2012.
At the High Court, Margaret Swords – the General Manager of the Louth & Meath Hospital Group – read an apology to Sharon´s family, admitting that the hospital had failed Sharon and that Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital was making progress in implementing the changes recommended by the HSE´s report. The court also heard that a settlement of wrongful death compensation for the misdiagnosis of cancer had been agreed amounting to €62,500.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that the settlement of wrongful death compensation for the misdiagnosis of cancer will be divided between Sharon´s mother – June McEneany from Carrickmacross in County Monaghan – and Sharon´s four siblings after €10,000 has been set aside to cover funeral expenses and other costs related to Sharon´s death.
The judge commended the McEneaney family for their “courage and tenacity” through the inquest into Sharon´s death and while ensuring the changes at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital were implemented. “You have shown marvellous fortitude in the face of such a loss,” she commented before closing the hearing.