Saturday 20 July 2019

Brave mum texted friends a week ago to say treatment had not worked

Message: Emma stayed in touch after ‘Late Late show’. Picture: PA
Message: Emma stayed in touch after ‘Late Late show’. Picture: PA
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Emma Mhic Mhathúna was meeting people at her hospital bedside up to 10 days before she died and spoke about the drug treatment she was undergoing.

However, she revealed just last week that the drugs were not working.

She died, surrounded by her family, just days later having been transferred to University Hospital Kerry.

RTÉ presenter Ryan Tubridy told how he visited her recently while she was undergoing treatment at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin.

He had interviewed her on 'The Late Late Show' last May about the CervicalCheck scandal and they had kept in touch since then.

Tubridy said he had planned to visit her at a coffee shop near the hospital 10 days ago. However, Ms Mhic Mhathúna was unable to leave the hospital, so the presenter visited her at her bedside, something he described as "difficult".

"She was in her hospital bed, she was talking, she was compos mentis, but she was not well, and her drug treatment - she had two weeks or 10 days left on it - and if it didn't take she was in trouble, and we spoke about that.

"We had a private conversation I won't go into," he added.

He said he was hopeful that her health would rally, however he said he was deluding himself.

"I got the impression she was going to get up out of that bed and walk to good health, actually.

"I was completely deluding myself, probably out of hope rather than reality," he said.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna sent him a text last week to say that the drug test had not worked, and he received another text about her death on Sunday.

Sharing a picture of himself and Ms Mhic Mhathúna on Instagram, he wrote: "She was a remarkable woman and proud mother who fought and fought until the end. Only 37 years old, hers was a cruelly unfinished life."

Ms Mhic Mhathúna's family asked him to say a few words at her funeral Mass at Dublin's Pro-Cathedral today.

He is unable to attend the service as he will be in London ahead of Friday's 'Late Late Show' special.

However, he has written a tribute at the request of her family, and he spoke to her uncle John, who he had previously met, yesterday morning.

"He told me that his family, Emma's family, are bowled over and overwhelmed by the decency and the generosity and kindness of the Irish people," he said.

"And that's very special. Irish people know when there's something wrong and they know when they have to stand up and be counted, and I think they're pretty furious, and rightly so."

Irish Independent

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