Published: Sun, April 29, 2018
Health Care | By Terrence Lopez

Women in Donegal may have received incorrect smear results

Women in Donegal may have received incorrect smear results

Cervical Check is writing to doctors today to make sure they've told patients the results of the audits of their smear tests.

The scandal kicked off when mum-of-two from Limerick, Vicky Phelan, took action against the HSE and a lab in Texas after she was misdiagnosed following s smear test.

In July of that year Ms Phelan was determined to have cervical cancer and experienced radical chemo-radiotherapy. She settled her High Court action against a United States laboratory for €2.5m this week.

The revelations came to light after Ms Phelan, 43, was awarded €2.5 million after her 2011 smear test was wrongly deemed clear.

When she had another spread test in 2014 she had cervical cancer.

Speaking on Highland Radio, Jolene McElhinney said: "What appears to have happened in these (Donegal) cases and there's a similar thread running through all the cases, is that the smears are undertaken, they are reported upon, and the individual is told they are clear, whereas in fact there are abnormal cells".

The 206 women whose smear tests were misread should have been referred on for further investigation, including an invasive diagnostic procedure or repeat smear, which could have picked up their cancer and led to earlier treatment.

Fianna Fáil spokesman on health Stephen Donnelly said the Government still had many questions to answer over the handling "of a litany of errors relating to the cervical cancer screening programme".

On Thursday the HSE said that since 2008, a total 1,482 cases of cervical cancer have been notified to the CervicalCheck programme.

"A cancer diagnosis is one of the most, if not the most, hard experiences a person and their family can deal with. No woman should have to wait this long for information relevant to their care", it said.

"We have always advocated and campaigned for resources for screening, particularly in relation to cervical screening because it is the best measure we have to avoid cervical cancer, which is a awful cancer, but is one that, if caught early enough, can be managed".

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