Using her precious time to shine a light on the rot
The extraordinary Vicky Phelan pulled a thread and now a whole culture of no one taking responsibility is unravelling, says Brendan O'Connor
The country is in awe of Vicky Phelan. But that's no good to her. Neither is the €2.5m settlement this terminally-ill woman got after being dragged through the courts by the HSE and the clinic in Texas which did not spot what were, according to expert witness Professor John Shepherd, obvious abnormalities on the slide of her cervical smear. The money might buy her some more time with her children, and some of it will be there for those young children when they turn 18. But none of it is any good to them, is it? Terminal illness has a way of putting everything else in perspective.
People die of cancer all the time. And it's the saddest, most tragic thing. But the idea of unnecessarily dying of cancer, when you should have had an overwhelming chance of survival, is a very hard one to get to grips with. If the abnormalities on her original slide had been correctly spotted, Vicky should have had a 90pc chance of being cured through relatively straightforward treatment. But instead she is terminally ill, and hoping to buy a bit more time with her young children.
The rest of us can only imagine how angry you could become.