Medical Negligence News

Settlement for Misdiagnosed Stomach Cancer Death Approved in Court Hearing

Posted on: May 19th, 2014 by Medical Negligence

A court has approved a six-figure settlement for the family of a young woman who tragically died following the misdiagnosis of stomach cancer by a consultant.

Sharon McEneaney, from Carrickmacross in Co. Monaghan, went to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda in October 2007 with severe pains in her abdomen. The consultant that she attended, Dr Etop Samson Akpan, did not consider that her pain could be caused by a tumor, and it was only in June 2008 that a biopsy was conducted on Ms McEneaney. This revealed that she had stomach cancer, but by that stage the cancer was so advanced that it could not be treated. Ms McEneaney died just ten months later.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into Ms McEneaney’s death, which resulted in no fewer than thirty-eight recommendations being made to help prevent another misdiagnosis of stomach cancer occurring at the hospital. The Medical Council of Ireland’s Fitness to Practise Committee had a hearing in January 2012 following the results of the investigation, and found that Dr Akpan was guilty of poor professional performance.

Ms McEneaney’s family made a claim for compensation against the hospital. The case was heard in Dublin’s High Court by Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who was informed that negotiations had lead to a settlement of €62,500 being agreed upon between the two parties. The settlement was divided between Ms McEneaney’s mother, June, and her four surviving siblings after €10,000 had been set aside for funeral expenses.

Margaret Swords, the General Manager of the Louth and Meath Hospital Group, read an apology to Ms McEneaney’s family at the hearing. She admitted that Out Lady of Lourdes Hospital had failed in their duty of care towards their daughter, and that progress was being made at the hospital to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

Judge Irvine approved the agreed sum for the compensation settlement, and noted that Ms McEneaney’s family had shown “courage and tenacity” throughout the ordeal. She also told them that they had “”shown marvelous fortitude in the face of such a loss”.