HSE confirms 17 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy have died 2 years ago

HSE confirms 17 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy have died

An earlier version of this article ran under the headline "HSE confirms 17 women have died as a result of CervicalCheck controversy". The headline has since been updated.   

The results of an audit into the CervicalCheck controversy were released today.

The HSE has confirmed that of the 208 women who were affected by the screening controversy, 17 of those women died.

Chair of the HSE Serious Incident Management Team, Patrick Lynch, today said that 17 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy had died.

The cause of death of those 17 women is not yet known.

The HSE also confirmed today that 162 of those 208 women were not told that a review had been conducted or what the results of the said review were.

The number of women affected by the controversy rose from 206 to 208 today following "weekend investigations", the HSE said.

A helpline set up by the HSE has already received over 6,000 calls from the public.

The HSE said they have struggled to get in contact with 14 of the affected women, but said that all 208 women should be contacted by their hospital by this afternoon or tomorrow.

Vicky Phelan’s lawyer, Cian O’Carroll, called the conduct throughout the process appalling and said, “it is particularly disgusting when you learn of the number of people that have died.”

The lawyer also said that he does not trust that 206 is an accurate number of those affected by the controversy and says he expects more cases to come to light.

Vicky Phelan was diagnosed with cancer three years after her smear test results were incorrectly filed as clear of abnormalities.

The mum-of-two found out she was terminally ill in 2014 and since took High Court action against Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc in Austin, Texas for refraining to give her the correct results of her smear test.

Last week she settled the case for €2.5million.

“I think every woman around the country is feeling a sense of anxiety as well as shock and horror at what has been emerging in the Cervical Check controversy in recent days," Labour Party spokesperson on Health Promotion, Cllr Martina Genockey, said today.

“There are no words to describe what women like Vicky Phelan and their families must be going through in this nightmare scenario.

“Every woman who has ever had a smear test will appreciate the sense of nervousness that comes with awaiting their results, and the peace of mind or need for action that comes either way on receiving those results.

“That some women are now having to question whether they can trust what comes back in the post is a truly frightening and upsetting situation to be in.

“These questions need to be answered and acted upon fast, so the women of Ireland can again have confidence in the system.

“Ireland needs to do better by its women and girls and our health system is at the very heart of this and no expense should be spared. All the women in our lives deserve better than this.”

The news comes after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar promised an inquiry into the screening controversy, saying “appalling communication failures” were made and questioned whether different testing “might have reduced the number of false negatives”.