HSE settles case with family of dead woman whose cancer wasn’t diagnosed

hseThe HSE has settled an action for damages arising from the death of a Donegal mother of three over failures to diagnose her breast cancer.

Letterkenny General Hospital has issued an unreserved apology to the family of Melissa Hamilton that her cancer was not recognised and treated at an earlier stage.

34 year old Melissa Hamilton from Killgordon in Co Donegal died in September 2011, 9 days after giving birth to her third daughter by emergency caesarean section.

She'd been diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of weeks earlier while heavily pregnant with her third daughter.

Melissa had first gone to her GP complaining of pain in her right breast in late 2009.

On 2 occasions she was referred to the breast care clinic at Letterkenny General Hospital both times her disease was not diagnosed.

Her family sued the HSE and her GP for a series of failures in her care. Liability was admitted but the High Court was being asked to assess damages.

Her husband Seamus Hamilton gave moving testimony of his wife's dying days and of telling his eldest daughter then aged 6 that her mummy was in heaven.

Today the case was settled, the family is to be compensated for its tragic loss and 900 thousand euro is to be handed over for the future care of the 3 young girls.

Melissa's husband Seamus Hamilton says their lives will always be tainted by her loss:

Letterkenny General Hospital has offered the family its deepest and sincere regrest and apologised unreservedly that Melissa's cancer was not diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage.