What is the Cervical Smear Test Scandal?
The Cervical Check Programme was launched by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2008. Women between the ages of 25 and 60 were invited for yearly cervical smear tests which were aimed at identifying pre cancerous cells and ultimately reducing the amount of cases of cervical cancer in Ireland.
The recent scandal has uncovered that the HSE has been negligent in failing to properly diagnose and treat thousands of Irish women. 1500 women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer did not have their smear test results reviewed by the National Screening Service to determine if the disease could have been flagged up sooner. Vicky Phelan was among 209 women who had abnormalities detected in their tests. Information was held from 162 of these women. 17 of these women have since died and in 15 of those cases the women were not informed about the abnormalities in their smear test.
Who was at Fault?
The HSE and Irish Government have been widely criticised for the role they played in the screening process and have been accused of instigating a ‘cover up’. Additionally, the HSE employed the services of two American companies to carry out the testing, they have also been negligent in the way they handled the testing of cervical smear tests.
Some people have incorrectly accused physicians of negligence. However, their job was merely to collect cells from the women and send them to the pathologists at the testing companies. Therefore, the negligence clearly lies with Quest Diagnostics, Clinical Pathology Laboritories (CPL) and the HSE.
How we can Help
The real tragedy with this scandal is that a lot of the death and illness could have been avoided. Lead campaigner Vicky Phelan successfully sued CPL for 2.5 million euros, her smear tests were misdiagnosed and as a result she became terminally ill. Emma Mhic Matuna sued the HSE and Quest Diagnostics for 7.5 million euros, she sadly passed away in October 2018.
At PA Duffy and Company our experienced medical negligence solicitors can help victims of this scandal to recover compensation. The negligence is very clear and the HSE has apologised for its handling of the Programme. ,