A husband whose wife died from cervical cancer has said he plans use money from a High Court settlement to honour their wish to have a child by availing of surrogacy.
Padraic Creaven had included the costs of surrogacy in his High Court claim against the HSE and three laboratories.
The case was settled this afternoon and the HSE apologised to Mr Creaven for failing to communicate the results of an audit, which revealed a change to the interpretation of Aoife Mitchell Creaven's 2011 smear test.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court.
A statement of regret was also read on behalf of the HSE and US laboratory CPL for the "pain, suffering and incalculable loss" experienced by Ms Mitchell Creaven and her husband and family.
Ms Mitchell Creaven was 20 weeks' pregnant in 2014 when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal cervical cancer and that her life expectancy was limited.
She had conceived through IVF, but had to terminate her pregnancy in order to receive chemotherapy. She was 40 years old when she died in April 2015.
Mr Creaven had sued the HSE, three laboratories and a hospital over the interpretation of his wife’s cervical smear sample in 2011, taken under the CervicalCheck national screening programme.
After the settlement today, Mr Creaven said: "I hope going forward that more women won't have to lose their lives before the system changes.
"I am happy to have got an acknowledgement of responsibility for Aoife's death at last. I feel that I have got some small bit of justice for Aoife."
'I hope going forward that more women won't have to lose their lives before the system changes.'— RTÉ News (@rtenews) March 4, 2021
Padraic Creaven says he is happy to have justice for his wife Aoife Mitchell Creaven, who died of cervical cancer. | Read more: https://t.co/fUfaJfKCZd pic.twitter.com/HeCjwR0SDa
He also thanked his solicitor Cian O'Carroll and his legal team for their "effort, dedication and relentless hard work over the past two-and-a-half years".
Mr Creaven acknowledged Aoife's family for their help and support to him and his wife in what he described as "an unimaginably difficult time".
Ms Mitchell Creaven had a cervical smear test under the CervicalCheck national screening programme on 8 August 2011. She was advised on 31 August 2011 that no abnormalities were detected.
On 26 February 2014, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cervical cancer. At the time, she was around 20 weeks' pregnant following her fifth cycle of IVF fertility treatment.
When the case began yesterday, counsel for Mr Creaven, Jeremy Maher SC, told the court the couple had "the most extraordinary and difficult dilemma" in 2014 and the "necessary course of action was to terminate the pregnancy" because their only treatment option was chemotherapy.
Mr Maher said Mr Creaven was left alone with no child. A widower at 44, his wife's death had a devastating impact on him.
He said the cost the surrogacy was part of Mr Creaven's claim and his client was now determined to honour his wife's wish and proceed to have a child through surrogacy.
The couple's frozen embryos are in a fertility clinic in the Czech Republic and Mr Creaven wants to go to the US for surrogacy.
Today, the case was settled and an apology was read in court from the HSE.
The statement also said: "The HSE and CPL (Clinical Pathology Laboratories, Austin, Texas) wish to acknowledge that this is a uniquely tragic case which has had the most devastating consequences for Aoife, her husband Padraic Creaven, the plaintiff in these proceedings, and for her family.
"We deeply regret the pain, suffering and incalculable loss experienced by Aoife, Padraic and her family.
"The HSE reiterates its sincere and unreserved apology to Mr Creaven for the failure by the CervicalCheck programme to communicate with him in a timely and appropriate way the results of an audit that indicated a change in the interpretation of Aoife's smear taken on 8 August 2011."
In his case against the HSE and the laboratories, it was claimed that a review of the 2011 cervical smear slide was carried out in 2014, but the Creaven and Mitchell families were not told until 2018, by a hospital consultant, that the smear slide was reported incorrectly.
After the termination in March 2014, they tried to find anything to prolong Aoife's life but she died in 2015, the court was told.
The case also included a claim for aggravated or punitive damages in relation to an alleged comment by a consultant to a member of the deceased's family during a disclosure meeting in 2018, in relation to the result of a CervicalCheck audit of the 2011 slide.
The consultant's alleged comment "well, nuns don't get cervical cancer" counsel said, was grossly insensitive.
Mr Creaven, on behalf of himself and his deceased wife's family, sued the HSE and three laboratories.
They are Sonic Healthcare (Ireland) Ltd with offices at Sandyford Business Park, Dublin; MedLab Pathology Ltd also of Sandyford Business Park and US laboratory Clinical Pathology Laboratories Incorporated (CPL) of Austin, Texas.
The case was also against Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin.
It was claimed against the HSE and the three laboratories that there was a failure to report that the smear slide of 2011 was abnormal and that Ms Mitchell Creaven was allegedly deprived of the opportunity of timely and effective investigation and management of her condition.
It is claimed against the hospital that it concealed or failed to advise Ms Mitchell Creaven in a timely manner the result of a review of her 2011 smear slide. All the claims were denied.
The case began yesterday at the High Court before entering settlement talks which concluded today. The settlement was made without admission of liability.