Friday 15 November 2019

'I was overwhelmed with anger' - husband of mum who died from cervical cancer not knowing about incorrect smear results

Irene Teap and husband Stephen try on wigs after her hair fell out
Irene Teap and husband Stephen try on wigs after her hair fell out
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

THE widower of a young mum who died from cervical cancer after two incorrect smear test results has said he was "overwhelmed with anger" when he found out what had happened.

Mother-of-two Irene Teap passed away aged 35 on June 26 last year.

Her husband Stephen, who lives in Carrigaline in Cork, said she asked specialists ‘at least 100 times’ why the cancer never showed up on her smear tests in 2010 or 2013.

Stephen said he was called by the HSE last week to be informed that she was one of 17 women who died of cervical cancer not knowing that their smear test results had been incorrect.

Speaking about the distressing phone call on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTE 1 today, he said: "I was absolutely furious, I just was raging on the phone, I was overwhelmed with anger.

"I couldn't believe the way I was contacted."

Stephen met with Irene's consultant last Thursday and he confirmed that pre-cancerous cells were detected  in her 2010 audited test results, cancer was also detected in her audited 2013 smear test results.

Her audited results were sent to her consultant  on July 3 last year, three weeks before she died but they were never shared with her.

Irene Teap died last July after an incorrect result.
Irene Teap died last July after an incorrect result.

Stephen also explained that he want to highlight what happened to his wife so that people know the people affected by the controversy and also so their young sons, Oscar (5) and Noah (3), would know he fought for accountability.

He said: "You need to be in situation of fight, you have to fight. If you’re going to think is the end near, or if it’s all over now, you’re not fighting. Doubts do come into your head but you have to push them out.

"There’s only one reason I made this story public. I didn’t want to be one of the 17.

"There’s two little boys at the end of this, and a loving mum at the end of this."

He said that Irene noticed bleeding around five weeks after she gave birth to the couple's second son, Noah in 2015.

She was told that she was still recovering from childbirth and she was still recovering from childbirth. 18 weeks later her GP referred her to a specialist again, where she was diagnosed with stage 2b cervical cancer.

Stephen recalled: "On Monday she gets a call asking to come in tomorrow, but we said we were going on holidays. The consultant said no, you really have to come in.

"She was brought in on Tuesday and this is where they sat us down and said sorry to say but you have cervical cancer...

"She asked her doctors, 'How the hell did my smears not pick them up?'

"The consultant said it doesn’t pick them all up, there’s room for error.

“When I first heard about it, (the CervicalCheck controversy), that question was doing circles in my mind. I could hear Irene asking why it wasn’t picked up.”

Stephen also said that he does not have faith in the HSE to resolve the issue.

He said: "Clearly no one has control over this situation, the Government don't, the HSE don't."

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