The Health Service Executive demanded specific and detailed proof that Vicky Phelan had suffered any loss, inconvenience or harm as a result of the botched handling of her misread smear test, according to court documents seen by RTÉ's This Week programme.

In addition to seeking detailed information about the state of her health, they also asked her to specifically prove that she was likely to die earlier than expected as a result of her mishandled smear test.

The official defence documents filed by the HSE in Ms Phelan's case show that the state was also denying it had any duty of care towards her husband, who also took part in the action against the HSE and the US lab which carried out the misread test.

The state's decision to deny a duty of care in this case to Ms Phelan's husband could indicate the state's future stance towards the families of other women, including the spouses of women who may have passed away from cervical cancer.

Ms Phelan was awarded €2.5 million in a settlement against the US lab during the week, over a false negative smear test in 2011.

She was only informed of the misread test last year, and her case only came to light in an audit after she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014.

The court documents also show that the state was calling on her to provide very specific evidence relating to the state of her health.

The defence documents filed did admit there was some delay informing her about her smear test results.

However, they were calling on her to provide detailed and verifiable proof that she suffered any personal injury, loss, expense or inconvenience as a result.

Not only were they looking for proof of any personal injury or hurt -- but they were also calling on her to prove that this was materially and specifically related to the delay in providing her with her false negative smear test result.

They also pleaded that she was not entitled to exemplary damages as she had sought, according to the documents.

And they also required proof that she both suffered nervous shock and that any action on their behalf was linked to that.

Within days of the case being settled, the director general of the HSE, Tony O'Brien acknowledged the harm and distress suffered by Vicky Phelan as a result of the handling of the false negative smear. 

Solicitor for Ms Phelan, Cian O'Carroll, told RTÉ's This Week that the defence documents lodged in the court case by the State contradict the terms of the apology issued last week.