A second cancer misdiagnosis has emerged at Ennis General Hospital despite assurances from the Health Service Executive that the death of Ann Moriarty was an isolated case.
Edel Kelly (26) from Kilrush, Co Clare, lost her battle with breast cancer in June after being given the all-clear at the same hospital.
The young woman's family spoke to the Sunday Tribune this weekend after becoming aware of the case of Moriarty (53) when her husband Karl Henry broke his silence about her breast cancer misdiagnosis. They too are calling for an independent inquiry at the hospital and a meeting with health minister Mary Harney.
In a statement, the HSE ruled out a review of all X-rays read at the hospital last year, saying the Moriarty case was an isolated incident.
Edel, the mother of two young boys, noticed a lump on her left breast in July 2006 and alerted her local GP. She was referred to Ennis where an ultrasound was carried out two-and-a-half weeks later. It reported that she had a "soft tissue mass and warrants further urgent investigation". A core biopsy of her breast was carried out at Limerick regional hospital on 7 December and the final diagnosis, seen by the Sunday Tribune, stated there was "no tumour identified".
However, the diagnosis compiled by a pathologist, Dr Elizabeth Mulcahy, in Limerick also included the key words "clinical correlation recommended" but this did not happen. On 18 December, 2006, Ennis hospital gave her the all-clear, and said test results were "benign", but Edel Kelly was far from healthy.
In June 2007, she complained of severe back pain and she was later admitted to Ennis vomiting blood on 19 October. She was referred to Limerick, where her breast cancer was diagnosed and it was also discovered that she had cancer in her liver and bones. She was "very angry and bitter", and decided to take legal action against the HSE. She had met with solicitor Eugene O'Kelly on a number of occasions in preparation for her day in court.
Her mother Una Kelly said: "We knew she wanted to take legal action, and she was very determined to do it. Edel's reason for looking for an inquiry was that it wouldn't happen to anyone else. We want to follow that through and finish what she started. We were shocked when this story about Ann Moriarty broke. God knows how many others are out there.
"We know that she had breast cancer, but she could have had that breast removed. She might have had a few more years left and more time with her boys if it was diagnosed back in October 2006.'' Edel, who died on 21 June 2008, left a partner Noel McGreene and two young sons, Jack (6) and Lee (3).
In a statement, a HSE spokeswoman said: "We are examining the issues raised and will be communicating directly with the family."
As the Kelly family prepares to take legal action, Edel's mother said:?"No compensation will ever make up for the loss of the boys' mother. [However] we would like to get something for them to help them as they grow up."
Eugene O'Kelly, the family solicitor, told the Sunday Tribune that Edel's medical records have been reviewed, at the request of the Kellys, by a consultant oncologist at Harley Street Cancer Centre in London, who criticised the way Kelly was treated by Ennis hospital.