Thursday 19 September 2019

Brother believes that his late sister was one of the two patients told of misdiagnosis

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

The brother of a woman who died from cervical cancer believes that she was one of the two women who were informed about the misdiagnosis in their smear tests.

The HSE confirmed earlier this week that 17 women died after they were wrongly given the all-clear following a smear test with CervicalCheck, with only two informed of the mistake.

The woman's brother, who identified himself as 'John', told Joe Duffy's 'Liveline' that he cannot state for definite that his sister was one of the two women referenced. However, he did say his sister knew she had errors in her smears before she died.

"The thing is this has been the hardest week since she died because you are piecing together the information and the decisions that led up to the death of your sister, while on the school run, from 'Morning Ireland' with a six-year-old in the back who wants to play 'I spy'. And that is very difficult.

"What my brother-in-law has had to go through has been absolutely unreal," he said.

"My sister, in the same way as Vicky Phelan, does not want to destroy faith in the cervical screening process, does not want women to not go."

John's sister died in June 2016 when she was in her 40s, having only been diagnosed about a year beforehand. He said that in March 2015, 15 months before she died, she ran a half-marathon.

John said that to the best of his knowledge, his sister underwent three smear tests between 2010 and 2012.

"There is a case pending. My brother-in-law is managing that. And I want to be very, very careful to make absolutely sure that I don't in any way compromise that. It's extremely important," John said.

He told the programme of the terrible toll her death has taken on his family. He said his sister was mother to two children aged just five and nine.

She was only diagnosed after being in a gynaecology department in relation to a different matter.

"She said just 'by the way, I also have these symptoms'. So it was done then. So, that was 2015."

John said his sister was in and out of hospital for quite a while. "She was in hospital full time for at least 12 weeks before she died. But the three months before that she was pretty much, one week in, one week out. It was particularly difficult at the time," he revealed.

He said their father at the time was diagnosed with leukaemia, and he died subsequently.

Irish Independent

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