Alison Kelly is suing the HSE for compensation after Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda failed to diagnose her breast cancer

A breast-cancer sufferer who is suing the HSE for compensation arising out of the treatment she received at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda has accused it of playing a "cynical waiting game" in relation to her case.

Alison Kelly's High-Court action, which has already been the subject of several delays, was adjourned for a further time earlier this month after the HSE told the court that it had not yet prepared its defence.

It is due to be heard again in October.

Kelly, a mother of two, underwent a mastectomy in 2005 despite having been told by the hospital two years earlier that a lump in her breast was not cancerous.

An external review of her case subsequently found that she should have been offered a mammogram at that time.

"One of my main reasons for taking this case is that I feel other people have a right to know what is going on, so that no one else has to go through what I have experienced," Kelly said.

"I feel it is a sad state of affairs that an organisation like the HSE, with all of its resources, cannot manage to put together a defence and come to court to resolve matters.

"It seems clear that the HSE is cynically playing a waiting game, by using every possible way of manipulating the law and the High Court... It is certainly crystal clear that where issues like misdiagnosis and malpractice are concerned, the HSE places the reputations of doctors and hospitals way above the welfare of patients."

Kelly, who is writing a book outlining how she has managed to stay healthy after rejecting any further conventional medical treatment, says she reluctantly decided to pursue the case after her attempts to secure a full independent review of the cancer treatment she received at the hospital were unsuccessful.

She says she wishes to see an annual "league table" of hospitals introduced, showing how many cases of misdiagnosis have occurred, and failures by medical staff to report a misdiagnosis leading to criminal prosecution.

She also wants a formal acknowledgement from the hospital that she was misdiagnosed, and damages for the trauma she has since suffered.

"Although these blocking and delaying tactics are very frustrating to me, and show contempt for me, and other people in this country who are in a similar situation, I am absolutely resolved to stay with this case and these issues for as long as it takes to get full resolution and justice," she added.

A spokeswoman for the HSE declined to comment. "The HSE considers that it would not be appropriate to comment on this case, as it is still before the courts," she said.