herald

Saturday 26 May 2018

'I don't know how they sleep' - Vicky blasts cancer docs

Vicky Phelan
Vicky Phelan

An anguished Vicky Phelan has revealed her concern for 206 other women who also have cervical cancer and said she does not know how senior doctors in CervicalCheck can sleep at night.

Ms Phelan (43), from Annacotty, Co Limerick, has terminal cervical cancer after her smear test failed to pick up abnormalities.

She said her heart goes out to other women who are also victims of misdiagnosis and are now being alerted to an internal report on their medical case.

Ms Phelan, who waited three years to learn CervicalCheck had an internal report on her misdiagnosis, said: "The fact the head of the national screening programme could not say this morning that these women had been communicated with to me is absolutely disgraceful.

"I just don't know how she can sleep at night. If it was me and I thought people's lives were at stake, I would have been up all night sending out letters."

She was responding to comments by CervicalCheck clinical director Dr Grainne Flannelly, who said she could not be sure all of the women have yet been told about their reports.

The 206 women whose smear tests were misread should have been referred on for further investigation, including an invasive diagnostic procedure or repeat smear, which could have picked up their cancer and led to earlier treatment.

Ms Phelan spoke movingly of the impact the dramatic revelations of the last week and her powerful speech outside the High Court has had on her family.

Ms Phelan, who settled her case for €2.5m, said her daughter Amelia (12) has been badly affected by the case, realising her mother may die.

Supportive

Meanwhile, Health Minister Simon Harris has sent a new management team into CervicalCheck after expressing no confidence in the current management.

He said that while he was fully supportive of the screening service, he could "truthfully" say this did not extend to the people running the service.

Fianna Fail health spokesman Stephen Donnelly said the Government still has many questions to answer over the handling "of a litany of errors relating to the cervical cancer screening programme".

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