Monday 19 November 2018

Cervical cancer scandal: Death toll revised to 18 amid search for more victims

Damian McCallion
Damian McCallion
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Another of the women who developed cancer after getting a wrong smear test result has died.

It was believed last week that 17 of the 209 women had passed away but CervicalCheck had to revise it to 18 yesterday.

It is unclear when she died but details emerged only in recent days as efforts continued to trace all the women or their next of kin where they were deceased.

Six of the victims or their relatives still had to be contacted yesterday.

All 209 women had an internal CervicalCheck report carried out on their case confirming a mistake was made.

This led to a delayed diagnosis of the cancer and also delayed treatment.

Memos released last week revealed how in 2016 senior HSE executives and CervicalCheck staff were fearful of the damage that would happen to the screening programme if one of the reports was made public.

Up to two weeks ago, only a minority of the women or their relatives knew of the reports.

Meanwhile, the number of women who rang the CervicalCheck helpline who need to be called back still stands at nearly 4,000.

HSE executive Damian McCallion (inset) is overseeing the response which saw another surge of 297 in helpline calls yesterday.

The HSE said every effort was being made to ensure the women were called back as soon as possible.

"We have teams working in Limerick, Cork, Waterford and Dublin and in hospitals across the country making contact with all the women who have requested a call back and answer to their queries," a spokesperson said.

Others are asking for personal health records and advice.

Irish Independent

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