Lynsey Bennett’s High Court urgent Case Progression- Cervical Cancer Misdiagnosis

In November 2020 we received instructions from Lynsey Bennett that she was terminally ill with incurable cancer. Lynsey also instructed us that she had been offered a poor prognosis in terms of life expectancy. 

We immediately issued High Court Proceedings grounded on the misinterpretation of a number of cervical smear slides taken both privately and under the national screening programme.

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We had significant concerns that her case would not be progressed quickly enough, if, it was not given priority by the Court. Accordingly, on the 17th of November 2020, we brought an urgent case management application to the High Court seeking to have the case prioritised and fast-tracked. Case management is a very useful mechanism that involves a Judge in actively managing how a case is run. He uses it as a way of moving a case along to hearing in the most efficient and timely manner.

Mr. Justice Cross agreed to our urgent application. He admitted the case into Case Management. Given the circumstances of the case, the Court set a very tight timeline for the exchange of reports and paperwork.

Crucially, the Judge specially fixed Lynsey Bennett’s case for a full hearing on Wednesday 20th day of January 2021.

A case of this complexity in terms of liability and causation and of such high value would typically take a number of years to conclude. This normally expected timeline was all the more complicated by the presence of three Defendants i.e. the Health Service Executive, Eurofins Biomnis Ireland Limited, and Quest Diagnostics Incorporated.

As a result of our prior experience in this area, we were successfully able to bring this High Court action to a conclusion in a number of weeks.

A brief synopsis of the work that was involved:

  • included serving the proceedings on all three Defendants and
  • engaging with three different Defendant law firms,
  • requesting and analysing all of our Clients Medical Records from a number of Healthcare providers,
  • sourcing our Clients five different smear samples from different laboratories and having these analysed by our experts in the UK,
  • obtaining our Clients histopathology slides and having these examined by our experts,
  • dealing with extensive information and Discovery requests by Defendants,
  • various Court applications, and
  • preparing and attending a Mediation hearing .

During this short timeline, we engaged numerous experts to prepare reports on behalf of Lynsey Bennett. The experts engaged to prepare reports included Consultant Gynaecological Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Vocational Evaluator, Nursing Consultant, Consultant Histopathologist, Neuropsychologist, Taxation experts, an Actuary, and Engineering Consultants.

Lynsey Bennett’s case was further complicated by the fact that the Covid Level 5 restrictions were introduced in January 2021. As a result of this, a direction from High Court President Ms. Justice Mary Irvine advised that routine personal injuries cases will not be heard until further notice.

We successfully applied to the High Court to ensure that this case would be heard despite the level five restrictions and we were one of the very few cases which retained a hearing date and were permitted to proceed during the level 5 restrictions.

Lynsey Bennett’s case shows that the legal system can respond positively in times of crisis to ensure justice to the most vulnerable in our society that needs the protection of the Courts.

We, as a Firm, were privileged to play a part in ensuring that Lynsey Bennett and her family were adequately provided for in circumstances that have had a devastating impact on her life and her children, family, and friends.