Michael Staines
Michael Staines

10.54 5 Feb 2021


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The women caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal deserve apologies from the clinicians that failed them, according to Dr Gabriel Scally.

Dr Scally led the review into the State screening programme in 2018 – examining the cases of 209 women who received false negative results.

The women were not informed about issues with their smears and many went on to develop cervical cancer.

Apology

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Dr Scally said the women and families deserve an apology form the doctors and clinicians who decided to keep them in the dark.

“In all of my dealings with the women involved, what they particularly objected to, was that when there was a decision to tell the women about their slides, they were not told properly,” he said.

“They were told, in many ways, in a disgraceful way and dealt with very badly by their clinicians.

“The apologies that I really want to see are from the clinicians who didn’t treat those women properly.”

Earlier this week, 32-year-old mother-of-two Lynsey Bennett became the latest woman to settle her case against the HSE, noting that she will now focus on her fight to “stay alive as long as I can.”

Meanwhile, there are warnings that as many as 200 more women have cases pending – despite then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s promise that none of them would have to go to court.

Dr Scally said the women affected by the scandal need three things to happen before they can “to a certain extent content.”

“One is that someone has to tell them the truth and that is a real problem in the CervicalCheck arena because these cases are going through the gladiatorial process of fighting things out in courts,” he said.

“Courts will give you a decision but they won’t necessarily give you the truth and what the families want and what women want is the truth.

“Secondly, they would like someone to say sorry and mean it. It has to be a meaningful apology and preferably it has to come from the people who were at fault.

“The third thing of course is they want to know it won’t happen to anyone else.

“If you deal with those three things with grace and compassion then these issues are usually resolved.”

Relief

He said he spoke to CerivcalCheck campaigner Ruth Morrisey about what she wanted from her doctors, before her death at the age of 39 last summer.

“I know from Ruth Morrisey’s point of view, because she told me about it, that she did eventually have a very good conversation with the clinicians involved and I know she was relieved and I am quite sure that the clinicians were relieved,” he said.

“That is what I think should happen.”


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