More Than 12 Women


Minister for Health Simon Harris and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

RTE News reports:

RTÉ News has learned that an audit on the CervicalCheck controversy identified more than 12 women who have died.

It also found that around half of the 206 women affected were not told they may have had a delayed diagnosis and may have benefited from earlier treatment.

A serious incident management team is continuing to gather information from around 13 hospitals on the scale of the controversy.

More than 2,000 people had contacted the Health Service Executive helpline by last night.

A report on the affair is likely to be presented to the Director General of the HSE this evening.

CervicalCheck can be contacted on 1800 454555.

Over half of CervicalCheck women affected not told of possible delayed diagnosis – audit (RTE News)

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52 thoughts on “More Than 12 Women

  1. Ron

    206 women told they may have had a delayed diagnosis and may have benefited from earlier treatment. 12 women who have died already. This is just the tip of the iceberg. And just so we are all clear. Medical manslaughter or gross negligence manslaughter happens where the death is a result of a grossly negligent act or omission on the part of the defendant. In medicine this refers to doctors who are performing acts within the terms of their duty of care when the act or omission occurs.

    Why has the ex Clinical Director of CervicalCheck, Dr Gráinne Flannelly not been arrested yet and questioned?

    1. Robert

      In the last day or so it’s been announced that there will be a “statutory enquiry”. Presumably that means the law is getting involved. That’s not to say anyone will go to jail but should make a few people sit up and pay attention at least.

    2. Cian

      Wait a minute.
      Firstly, I think the HSE should have informed these women that their smear tests were incorrectly reported as clear of abnormalities in a timely manner.

      What crime do you think ex-Clinical Director of CervicalCheck, Dr Gráinne Flannelly committed?

      According to that article: “Mr Varadkar added that although information about the audit would not have changed treatment or outcomes, patients should have been informed.”
      If this is true, then I don’t see any crime.

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        Cian, this isn’t funny and you aren’t funny. With due respect, Dr Varadkar cannot know that ‘the treatment or outcomes would not have been affected ‘. With such an eminently treatable cancer time is of the essence.

        1. Cian

          Sheik, I’m not trying to be funny.

          I’m open to correction, but Ms Phelan was diagnosed with cancer before the original test results were re-checked. So telling her that the original test was wrong would not have made any difference to her treatment (because she had already started treatment).

          Yes, had the tests been correct the first time, she could have had different treatment – but this discussion isn’t about the faulty tests – it is about what happened once the CervicalCheck/HSE realised the tests were wrong.

          1. Elle Kay

            The age of the cancer has an impact on the type of treatment the patient receives. Therefore if the dating of the origin of the cancer is inaccurate it prohibits the clinician from administering the right kind of treatment – treating a three-yr-old cancer vs treating a one-yr-old cancer is very different. Lacking this information would have had a negative impact on the efficacy of the treatment she received upon the eventual diagnosis.

          2. Cian

            @Elle Kay
            Does this apply to Cervical cancers? my understanding is that the reason we can screen for these cancers is that that progress in a particular way – so by assessing the type of cancerous cells you can ‘age’ the cancers.

            The fact that Ms Phelan was suing the US company for messing up the test results, but she didn’t sue the HSE for not telling her once they knew the correct results would suggest that it has no bearing on her treatment.

    1. Ron

      Why don’t you ask that question to the victims surviving families Phil. Seriously, are you off your head on drugs and drink thinking that’s a funny comment to write on broadsheet? Take a good look at your self and reflect on how pathetic that comment was and have a good think about what type of person you are who thinks it’s ok to write anonymous hateful comments like that. You really are the lowest of the low when it comes to human skum.

      1. phil

        @Ron, I think you got the wrong end of the stick there, I’m suggesting that what happened to these women is just another example of how perverse the healthcare is in this country and its treatment of women….

  2. Panty Christ

    I really hope the state hasn’t fought litigation against these women and their families.

    Any fund set up to pay compensation better pay it ASAP too and avoid another Magdalene / mother babies home malaise

    1. ReproBertie (SCU)

      This has only really come to light because Vicki Phelan was dragged through the courts by the HSE and US lab who paid out while not admitting liability.

        1. ReproBertie (SCU)

          I was just pointing out that this has come to light because the state has indeed fought litigation against at least one women who was mistreated by the state.

          1. Robert

            I meant my remark as an embellishment to what you wrote. I had no intention of contradicting or otherwise undermining. On the one hand, there are various figures to blame, and on the other there those we should thank. Against the negative backdrop of all these recriminations I just want us to also be inspired by the strength, courage and determination of this remarkable woman.

    1. Bert

      Nice to see the Love Both brigade taking such a compassionate stance here. Says it all really.

          1. Robert

            I want to believe that there are many on the pro-life side who are well meaning and truly believe that the 8th is reasonable way to protect babies. The enlightened position is of course that regardless of your position on abortion the 8th is a wholly unsuitable instrument.

            We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be swayed by a few extremists and we should respect the other side of this discussion and continue trying to educate and put them back on the right path.

            This kind of mud-slinging is quite unhelpful and actually risks pulling the repeal campaign into the same spiteful hate-politics that we see from some of the retain campaign.

            This battle won’t be if it’s fought on their terms, so please resist the urge.

          2. TheRealJane

            There you are now, Robert. I’m going to assume you’re a man, based on your name. Let me tell you, I’m a woman and a mother so don’t tone police me with regard to this issue.

            You think you know, but you don’t.

          3. Robert

            I’m a husband, father, son and brother. Don’t tell me I can’t have a voice in this discussion.

          4. rotide

            ‘I’m a woman and a mother’

            I’m sorry, i wasn’t aware that an accident of genetics plus a thing that the overwhelming majority of people with those particular genetics have done makes you so special

            well done you

          5. Nigel

            It says a lot about attitudes that not wanting to be policed about an issue just because you’re a woman is seen as a) silencing men and b) a demand for some sort of special treatment. Looooong way to go.

          6. TheRealJane

            Yes, indeed. Women who could be affected by abortion and misdiagnosed cervical screens need to take direction from men on how to speak about it, because failure to be nice and polite might offend people with the wrong sex but most of the power and that could hardly do.

          7. Nigel

            Women weaponise gender by daring to identify their gender!

            (Robert’s concern trolling is no doubt sincere – pardon the apparent contradiction – but it’s weird that some people seem to think there’s something wrong with the people drectly affected by these things having strong opinions on the matter.)

  3. Catherine costelloe

    Drip fed damning news on cervical cancer checks was to be expected. Was the Minister of Health kept in the dark until Vicki Phelan’s court battle? Incredible.

  4. GiggidyGoo

    A report on HSE failings will be given to Tony O’brien, Director General of the HSE. Will the report be eventually published? And how gutted will it be after O Brien gets it?
    How long has the current and the former ministers for health actuall known there was a problem?

    1. SOQ

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Reilly knew? He would be more concerned with banning smoking outdoors while he is eating (and eating and eating) than minor things like this.

      1. Truthful Ulsterman

        James Reilly identified the risk in opposition when health spokesman. It is in the 2008 Dail debate.

      1. GiggidyGoo

        Gas the way things fall into place. Something on the lines of destroying records of emails (that one is contagious)

  5. italia'90

    I’ve been rounding up misogynist w4nkers all weekend.
    It wasn’t fun.
    From Leinster House to Independent House to Marconi House,
    I had no trouble filling the special privilege bus.
    The problem is, I seem to have lost two this morning.
    They escaped some time between 08.53 am and 09.06 am.
    If you see them or know of their whereabouts please leave a comment below.
    Do not approach or engage with them as they are thought to be armed with misinformation and foaming at the mouth.
    Thanks in advance.

  6. Cian

    If I am reading this properly, the timeline is:
    May 2011; smear test results incorrectly reported as clear of abnormalities
    June 2014: next smear test showed a high grade lesion – i.e. cancer;

    After she had been diagnosed with cancer the earlier test was reviewed, and found to be wrong. And this was kept from her.

    Is there evidence that the HSE / National Cervical Screening Programme knew the 2011 test results were wrong before she had been diagnosed with cancer?

    based on

  7. Kolmo

    This is the brutal reality of running a health service, or any essential state service, with the lowest bidder instead of investing in proper in-house training backed-up by properly funded research Universities, it literally pays for itself in more ways than one. I hope the can of worms is now open relating to the racketeering-like quagmire of health system privatization we have, it’s backwards we’re heading.

    1. SOQ

      Absolutely. Sure the guards are the same. Accenture has them by the short ‘n curlies now and they are hemorrhaging staff. Interesting that because the quality was so bad, a number of the multinationals have now pulled services back in-house, and they would have been the outsourcing evangelists five or ten years ago.

      1. b

        no amount of outsourcing can take the blame for experienced well paid professionals in Ireland sitting on important patient information in the name of ass covering

        heads should roll in the HSE

        1. Kolmo

          That was the purpose of setting up the HSE, to deflect any responsibility/blame from the actual minister of health, HSE then they pass the buck to the cheapest outsourced ‘service provider’, evidentially without any oversight or quality control, until it’s too late….

          1. Cian

            Do any of you actually know how the HSE works? Do you know the size of the health system that HSE oversees?
            Do you know who owns our hospitals? Who runs them? Who has responsibility for them?

  8. RanelaghPete

    The only person likely to be sanctioned at the end of this tragic debacle is the ‘clerk’ who left Ms Phelan’s file in the waiting room for her to see it – were it not for that oversight she/we would never have found out the full horrific facts, and thank god she had the determination to refuse to sign a non-disclosure agreement . We owe her the most enormous gratitude.

    1. SOQ

      Seen her on The Ray D’Arcy Show on Saturday night. Intelligent, articulate and a woman to be reckoned with. I hope and pray her new treatment is a success.

  9. Catherine costelloe

    Tony o Brien should shut his trap telling us what a great service the cervical tests are. 17 are dead and their heartbroken relatives will be upset and bereft enough without listening to to that gobblegook.

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