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Cancers missed in Wexford Hospital Colonoscopies

Posted in [Blog Medical Negligence ] on Thursday, January 19th, 2017

I wrote back in March 2016 on cancer misdiagnosis in Wexford General Hospital. (The blog is on our website for those who have not read it and wish to do so).

At the time, there had been newspaper reports on a leaked review of twelve cases of bowel cancer “missed” at Wexford General Hospital.  We know that at least one of these patients has died of the illness since then.

The twelve patients were identified from a recall from six hundred patients who had received colonoscopies (an investigation of the large bowel) at Wexford General Hospital in 2013 and 2014.

The recall of the six hundred patients at Wexford General Hospital followed the identification of two patients in October/November 2014 with interval cancer – a cancer that is detected between bowel screenings. This raised question marks about the quality of the screening which in turn triggered the recall and a review by Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG) under which Wexford General Hospital is now managed.

In March, I expressed the view that it was unacceptable that the report of the IEHG had not yet been published and was typical of the foot dragging by the HSE which the Medical Negligence Department of Cantillons Solicitors see day after day in our work.

I have now read Paul Cullen’s article on the Irish Times website that the final review of the incident will be published today. This is to be welcomed, though it would appear from Mr. Cullen’s article that the contents of same will make for some very distressing reading, particularly, for the people affected by the negligence at Wexford General Hospital.

I have no doubt that the delay in publishing the report has added to the distress of the victims and their families. Why did it take some two years and three months for the report to be published?  Once again, this debacle underlines the need for a statutory duty of disclosure here in Ireland. A statutory duty of disclosure is simply a responsibility on hospital, medical and nursing staff to tell the truth to patients when there has been a mistake.

Will lessons be learned from this latest debacle? Will anyone be held to account?

Sadly, given the HSE’s track record to date, I am not optimistic.

Contact Our Medical Negligence Solicitors in Cork

If you are looking to make a cancer misdiagnosis claim, please contact Cantillons Solicitors using the contact form below, call us on +353 (0)21 4275673 or email us at for more information. Our offices are located at 39 South Mall, Cork. We do, however, represent clients from all over Ireland. Should you be unable to attend our offices, we are more than happy to travel to you, or conduct the meeting on Zoom.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

Karen Kearney



In her twenty years as a practising solicitor, Karen has worked with a number of leading law firms in Limerick and Cork where she has acquired extensive experience in all areas of the law, with a particular expertise in medical negligence cases.

Karen has represented clients effectively in many forums including the District Court, Circuit Court, High Court, Employment Tribunals and Coroner’s Court. She has acted for, and advised, State Bodies in respect of all areas of the law to include childcare law; employment issues; food safety and health and safety issues.

Karen joined Cantillons Solicitors in November 2009 and works in the Medical Negligence Department practising clinical negligence litigation.  She is expertly assisted by Patricia Sisk and April Wiseman, Legal Assistants.

She is very proud to be a member of the medical negligence team which  has been involved in precedent-setting  cases since 1980 and which received the inaugural award of Litigation Team of the Year, National Irish Bank Law Awards in 2012.

Karen regularly attends international conferences in order to add to  her pool of her experts and ensure access to the world’s best. She is also regularly asked to speak at national and international conferences concerning medico-legal issues. She is a regular speaker at the annual Medical Law Conference; giving presentations on healthcare law, practice and procedure to employees in the healthcare section and fellow lawyers. This lecturing experience means that Karen has an excellent grasp of law in theory as well as in practice.

Karen has featured on national television and on local and national radio  in relation to this specialised area of medical negligence litigation.She has been commissioned to write opinion pieces on topical issues in the medical negligence area, published in national newspapers. Notably, she first highlighted in the Irish Examiner, the Minister for Health’s failure to introduce a statutory Duty of Candour-  a legal requirement for medical staff, nurses and management to tell patients and their families if a mistake has been made which adversely affects the patient’s health – despite the Minister’s promise to do so.

Karen also writes a weekly column in a local daily newspaper, the Evening Echo, addressing reader’s legal queries. This column  appears in Monday’s edition of the paper.

Karen has developed real expertise in her field and has shown great dedication in pursuing complex injury cases to settlement.

Karen gets referrals from patients nationwide. She represents her patients with determination and compassion.


  • BCL Honours 1992
  • Admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Michaelmas 1996


  • Former Secretary of Limerick Bar Association
  • Former member of the Litigation Committee of the Law Society of Ireland
  • Member of the Medical Injuries Alliance
  • Member of Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA)

Related Solicitors

Karen Kearney


Ernest J. Cantillon

Managing Partner

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