Tuesday 18 June 2019

'This has been the hardest week since she died - man believes sister was one of two women told of incorrect smears before she passed away

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Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

The brother of a woman in her forties who died from cervical cancer believes that she was one of the two women who were informed about incorrect smear tests prior to their diagnosis.

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, but he said his sister knew she had misread 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," he said.

John’s sister died in June 2016, 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, some three smear tests were done 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 explained.

He told the programme of the terrible toll her death has taken on his family. He said that his sister, was a mum to two children aged just five and nine years old.

She was only diagnosed after being in a gynaecology department in relation to a different matter entirely. "She said just by the way, I also have these symptoms. So it was done then. So, that was 2015."

John said that 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 as well.

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

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