The family of cervical cancer victim Joan Lucey has settled the High Court action which brought the deathbed plight of the retired Dingle nurse to public attention last month.
s Lucey died, aged 73, just hours before the mediation she had bravely fought for was finally to get underway – with the talks agreed as her health deteriorated amid what her family said, they believed, was the stress of the ongoing case.
Ms Lucey tragically died just before midnight on Friday, February 19, with talks set to finally begin on the Saturday. They were put back until Tuesday of last week, by which time Ms Lucey’s Funeral had been held in her native Dingle amid widespread mourning and tributes.
In a moving Eulogy, her son, Seán, told how his mother, who became the latest woman linked to the CervicalCheck scandal on waiving her anonymity in the action, was ‘courageous and brave to the last’.
She brought a claim for general damages against the HSE and two laboratories over the alleged misreading, misinterpretation or misreporting on cervical slides taken in February and August of 2011, in an action alleging that cancerous cells were allowed to develop and spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until her diagnosis in July 2019.
The claims were denied by the parties, and Ms Lucey’s claims for general damage fell away when she died, but her children replaced her as plaintiffs as the action was reconstituted as a fatal claim.
Mediation got underway on Tuesday last week, less than a day after Ms Lucey’s Funeral, but the Court was informed the talks had proved unsuccessful, ending at 10pm on Tuesday.
Lucey family counsel Oongah McCrann SC, instructed by Aisling Maher of Cantillons Solicitors, told the Court on Thursday that the case had been resolved.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross – who had urged the HSE to take instruction ‘at the highest level’ to try to settle by mediation just the day before Ms Lucey’s death – congratulated all sides and the mediator on the outcome.
The case comes back before the Court on March 4, when the settlement is expected to be approved, one which is understood to have been reached without an admission of liability.
The much-loved Dingle woman, who lost her beloved husband, Robbie, at a tragically young age to illness in 1994, worked for the HSE as a district nurse in West Kerry in recent decades, and had volunteered with the Irish Cancer Society.