Wednesday 19 June 2019

'It was the scariest thing I've ever gone through' - women protest over CervicalCheck

Protesters at the CervicalCheck scandal outside Dáil Éireann. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Protesters at the CervicalCheck scandal outside Dáil Éireann. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Laura Larkin and Olivia Kelleher

A mother-of-two who believes she is one of the 209 women affected by the CervicalCheck scandal constantly fears her cancer may return following a smear test misreading.

Carol Murray, from Midleton, Co Cork, was notified on May 10 last year that a smear test conducted in June 2010 had been read incorrectly.

She was told to return in six months for another smear and did so. At that time, she was told again to return in six months but was diagnosed with cancer in the interim.

"I should have been called up to the hospital within a week or two of my first smear and instead I was waiting 12 months," she told a rally outside the Dáil yesterday.

"In that time I was diagnosed with cervical cancer... I was only 26 years old when I was diagnosed.

"It was the scariest thing I've ever gone through - I'll never forget the first day I was told," she said.

The young mother, who has two sons, aged 11 and eight, is no longer able to have children, which has left "a massive void".

"I am so lucky to have my two boys but it's still not fair that the choice was taken away from me," she said.

"Every day I do suffer both physically and mentally. I could have a sore throat, I think it's there, or a sore back, I think I have a tumour there. It's mostly a lack of trust in the healthcare system."

When she was contacted earlier this month to meet with her consultant, she feared the worst.

"I automatically thought they were diagnosing me and I'll never forget it," she said.

Ms Murray addressed a Standing4Women rally outside the Dáil, where activists and women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy called on the Government to rush through legislation on mandatory disclosure.

Meanwhile, the teenage son of Julie Dingivan, one of the women identified by the HSE as having died after being mistakenly given the all-clear for cancer, has spoken of his "beautiful, heart-of-gold" mum.

Julie, who was originally from Mahon in Co Cork, died of cervical cancer at the age of 36 in Marymount Hospice in Cork in April 2017, after a 2013 diagnosis. The HSE recently indicated to her husband Paul that a clear smear test his wife received in 2009 was found to be inaccurate following a review in September 2016. However, Julie was never told.

Her son Craig (19) said he didn't know what to do with the anger he felt at the loss of his 'one-of-a-kind' mother.

"I don't know where to guide it," he said. "She was 36 years of age. She was a beautiful person... I want someone to be put to blame. I want them to face the consequences. We were absolutely destroyed by it. All of this [the revelations] feels like starting over again."

Irish Independent

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