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Settlement of case for family of the Estate of young wife and mother who died of  HSE failures to diagnose and treat her  breast cancer appropriately

Posted in News on Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

I and the team in Cantillons Solicitors  were honoured to represent the family of Catherine Halligan, a beloved wife, mother, daughter and sister.

Catherine  was aged 38 in  May 2014 when she noticed a lump in her right breast and for which she attended her GP who made an urgent referral to University Hospital Waterford (UHW).

Unfortunately,  Catherine’s  breast cancer  was missed by  her treating practitioners at UHW  and it was permitted to grow and spread,  unknown to her.

She reattended her GP in September 2014 and who again referred her to UHW where her cancer was diagnosed and treated.  The treatment was successful, or so Catherine  thought.

Unfortunately, in  November 2017,  Catherine  started feeling unwell  and subsequent investigations revealed that the cancer had spread  and she sadly died on the 19th November 2018, aged 43,  leaving behind her broken-hearted husband , then 10 year old daughter,  her mother, two  brothers and  sister.

Catherine had her suspicions when the cancer reoccurred  that her cancer had been neglected in May 2014 and  on her death bed she  asked her husband   to investigate the care she had received from UHW.

He  complied with Catherine’s wishes and instructed us to investigate and when we briefed the appropriate experts, it became clear that the cancer had been missed entirely in May/June 2014 due to negligence, thereby increasing the likelihood of metastases, which occurred and which caused Catherine’s death on the 19th November 2018.

It has been a long road for Catherine’s family.  The HSE denied liability and injury until recently when they filed an amended Defence (December 2023)  admitting negligence for the delay in treatment between May and October 2014, but continuing to deny causation/injury arising from the negligence. The case had been specially fixed for hearing in  April 2024,  but  it settled at Mediation on the 16th February 2024 and which was approved by the High Court on the 21st February  2024.

The loss of Catherine  is a multigenerational trauma which could have been avoided but for the failings in her care at University Hospital Waterford. Let us hope appropriate lessons have been learned.

See below  links for some media reports  on the case.

Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 4275673 or  if you would like more information.

* In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.  Many Personal Injury Solicitors portray themselves as “no win no fee Solicitors Cork”. This term can be misleading and it is essential that you discuss fees with the Personal Injury Solicitor you ultimately choose. At Cantillons Solicitors, we are entirely transparent.

Related Solicitors

Ernest J. Cantillon

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Karen Kearney


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