Victims and families of the CervicalCheck scandal have labelled the leaking of the Scally report as disgusting, and say there are fundamental problems in the Health Service Executive (HSE) when it comes to women’s healthcare.
Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene died on July 26 2017, after two false negative tests, and Lorraine Walsh, who lost her chance to have children over a missed 2011 cancer warning, spoke to the media on Wednesday, after a five-hour meeting on Tuesday with Dr Gabriel Scally about his report.
Although they said they were pleased with the detail of the report, they have major concerns with a number of his findings, including what they say is physicians operating with a “God complex”, and say the 50 recommendations in the report must be implemented immediately.
“Whatever route is taken after this, whether it be a commission of investigation or an inquiry, it cannot delay the implementation of these very critical recommendations,” Mr Teap said.
Ms Walsh, who had seven surgeries over five years to try and preserve her fertility, criticised the attitude of consultants who she says withheld critical information from her and other women about their cancer status.
“When it was disclosed to me, the attitude I was given was; ‘I didn’t feel you needed to know, and in hindsight I should have told you, I don’t know what you’re making a big deal about, this is no big deal’ and that is something that has come out in Gabriel Scally’s report; he has clearly shown that is a problem across the system.
“This is a system that seems to be every single area of it, problematic, as we moved through the report last night, every area, every chapter, we were told there were fundamental problems, it was very hard to hear, especially the outsourcing to other labs, it’s unbelievable that CervicalCheck knew nothing about it.
“This cannot happen again, Stephen is here without his wife and has two small boys at home, I wish I had two small boys at home but I don’t have it.
“While the cervical screening system saved my life, it took a lot away from me and let me down badly.”
Mr Teap, from Co Cork, lost his wife and mother of his two young sons, Oscar and Noah, last year and was told just months before her death that her smear tests from 2010 and 2013 were incorrect.
He said he found out parts of Dr Scally’s report had been leaked from the media on Tuesday morning.
“The initial plan was to meet Dr Scally at 11:30am on Wednesday, so I organised babysitters and taking day off work.
“My alarm was due at seven, at 10 to seven a radio station phoned me looking for my reaction to the leaking of the Scally report.
“I could not believe what I was being asked.
“I was outraged, I was absolutely devastated when I went online and saw what was leaked.
“It’s not just me, 220 other families who have been through the worst pain and hurt, and given this whole scandal is based around victims finding out information from the media, the insensitivity from the person or people who leaked it is horrific.
“The amount of energy it takes to sit in front of you here today, even driving to Dublin to read through this inquiry, the emotional pain, its horrific for us to read.
“The end of Irene’s life, she did everything right, she put all her faith in the system, everything let her down, and for her to continue to be treated in that manner was absolutely disgusting.
“I would like to see (the leak) investigated, there is so much hurt and pain involved.”