Friday 18 January 2019

HSE asks American lab to 'change their approach' regarding assessments of Emma Mhic Mhathuna's children

Emma Mhic Mhathuna pictured during the Cervical Check Scandal protest at the Dail.
Photo: Steve Humphreys
Emma Mhic Mhathuna pictured during the Cervical Check Scandal protest at the Dail. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The HSE and the State Claims Agency (SCA) have written to the American lab whose lawyers have requested assessments be carried out on the children of one of the victims of the CervicalCheck scandal to ask them to “change their approach”.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney told the Dáil that in relation to the case of Emma Mhic Mhathuna, which is currently being heard in the High Court, the request for assessments by the lab is "totally inappropriate".

The mother-of-five is one of 209 women who was not informed of an audit of her smear tests which found that her tests were incorrectly read. Ms Mhic Mhathuna is now terminally ill.

“I spoke to the State Claims Agency in relation to that case and my understanding is that the senior counsel representing the SCA has made it clear that there is an acceptance of liability on the State’s side in relation to disclosure issues," Mr Coveney said.

“In relation to the other issues that are being contested that involve Quest Diagnostics the SCA and the HSE have written to Quest Diagnostics to ask them to change their approach in relation to the request that had been made for assessments of Emma Mhic Mhathuna’s children, which as far as we’re concerned is totally inappropriate,” he added.

It has emerged that among the demands made by lawyers for the laboratory is a request that all of her five children be assessed by a psychologist to determine the impact on them of the impending death of their mother. The lab is also demanding that Ms Mhic Mhathuna be assessed by various specialists, including a psychiatrist.

The Dáil also heard of another of the 209 women affected by the controversy who learned today she would be meeting with a liason officer in two weeks time to discuss supports.

Stephen Donnelly raised the woman’s case, noting it would be two months from the time of the story breaking before she would get the chance to meet someone from the State to discuss supports that can now be offered to her.

The government has announced a slate of tailored packages for those affected including discretionary medical cards and childcare supports.

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