The Health Service Executive and and a medical laboratory have apologised to a woman who is terminally ill with cervical cancer for negligence and breach of duty over the misreading of one of her smear tests.

The apology came after she settled her High Court action for €2.75 million in damages.

Patricia Carrick is in hospital and was too ill to attend court.

The 51-year-old had three smear tests - in 2014, 2016 and 2019 -  which were reported as having no abnormalities. Five months after the 2019 result, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer which had spread to her lymph nodes.

She underwent treatment but suffered a relapse in February. Ms Carrick and her husband Damien have four children.

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In court today an apology was issued on behalf of the HSE and Medlab Pathology in relation to the 2016 test.

It said they wished "to acknowledge that the liquid based cytology sample of 31st of May 2016 was read in a manner that was negligent and in breach of duty. We wish to sincerely apologise that this occurred and for the consequence and distress that this has caused for you all".

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In a statement outside the court, Mr Carrick said on behalf of his wife Trish and his children he wished to acknowledge the acceptance of liability and the apology in relation to the 2016 slide.

On 29 July last year his wife received a phone call to tell her she had cancer.

"Since that time our very private and happy lives in Galway have been marred by the horrendous situation that we found ourselves in," he said,

He added that "Trish is a great mother a really good friend and 'the glue that keeps the Carrick house in order.'

"She was diligent with her health and attended for her smear tests regularly. She was very conscious of the ramifications of missing a smear and was and is a firm believer in the screening programme provided by Cervicalcheck.

"If she was here today, she would be encouraging all women to go for their smears regularly and to listen to their bodies."

Mr Carrick said his wife would also be calling on the Government to implement all of the recommendations of the Scally Report as soon as possible and "to ensure the women of today live to be the mothers of tomorrow. I join in that plea."

He said he would also like to remember " all of the devastated families and friends that have been left behind and also remember all of the women who have lost their lives to this terrible disease."

He added: "Surely their legacy is the fully funded and properly run screening service based in Ireland and run properly by the State."

He also said, since the Supreme Court decision in the Ruth Morrissey case, a "very real" problem has been highlighted that the law as it currently stands may prevent the dependents of a person such as his wife recovering the cost of future care and support when a person dies.

This became a big issue in their case and will be a big issue in many other cases, he said.

"The Chief Justice called on the Oireachtas to fix the law and the Government now needs to act urgently," he said.

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Ms Carrick's solicitor Cian O'Carroll said today's apology was the first time that the HSE had admitted wrongdoing and apologised in court.The HSE has been indemnified by Medlab for the award of damages and costs.

Ms Carrick, of Oranmore, Co Galway, along with her husband Damien, had sued the Health Service Executive claiming tests taken under the national cervical screening programme were misdiagnosed or misreported.

She said failures in her care delayed a cancer diagnosis.

Ms Carrick had a routine smear test in 2014 and the cytology report issued showed no evidence of neoplasia. Another smear test in 2016 also showed no evidence of neoplasia.

In 2018, a further cervical smear test under the national screening programme was reported as unsatisfactory for assessment and Ms Carrick was advised she needed to have a repeat smear test in three months.

In February 2019, she had a smear test which was reported as showing no abnormalities. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer five months later which had spread to her pelvic lymph nodes.

She has claimed she was deprived of the opportunity of timely and effective investigation and management of her condition and of the opportunity of treatment at a time when her disease could have been cured.