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"I hope some people will eat modest cake" – Vicky Phelan on the Scally report

CervicalCheck scandal victim Vicky Phelan. Photo: Colin O & Riordan
CervicalCheck scandal victim Vicky Phelan. Photo: Colin O & Riordan

Vicky Phelan, who had exposed the cervical cancer scandal, said she had been "confirmed" after the publication of the Scally report.

The two-time Limerick mother pointed out that she only said that the screening saves lives.

"That has never changed," she said.

She added that she had just said she had a problem with the way CervicalCheck was run. "I am confirmed today, thank God, all I can say is, so I hope some people will eat modest cake."

Meanwhile, she responds well to the treatment and says:

"I do not think I have more time."

Preview: Vicky Phelan Scally's report. Photo: Collins

Preview: Vicky Phelan Scally's report. Photo: Collins

Ms. Phelan said that the treatment she was working on, pembrolizumab, worked: "It's that simple."

She had an infusion of the drug yesterday while Dr. Scally published his report.

"I have over 50 pieces of shrinkage and I'll be due for next exam next week," said Ms. Phelan. She said people are contacting her from all over the country to get the drug.

Ms. Phelan said, one thing that she had from the beginning Scally liked that he had a sense of social justice and fairness.

"He immediately saw that women were treated very badly and that was the common thread in the whole report."

Emma Mhic Mhathúna, mother of five children who is fighting advanced cervical cancer and has been in the hospital for 10 days, received a copy of the report via email.

When she spoke of the report to Pat Kenny of Newstalk from her hospital bed, she said, "I do not expect anything good to come of it."

She said she would not give any more interviews because she had difficulty breathing.

Stephen Teap, a two-headed Cork father who had lost his wife Irene to cervical cancer, said that women and their families were in great pain.

He welcomed the report's 50 recommendations, which were possible solutions to the main errors highlighted in CervicalCheck.

He agreed that some doctors had a "God-complex" and the current system of finding out about mistakes was a "complete joke".

"The core of the whole thing must be patient safety," he said, adding that the culture of "protection, denial and silence" must end.

"We expect the government to implement this without delay so that we can improve the standards of the cervical screening program and bring it to levels that all Irish women and their families can trust.

"There is much more to be done to further investigate the shortcomings of the system and who is and was to blame," Teap said.

"No matter which path to follow, either a commission of inquiry or an inquiry, it can not influence or delay the implementation of these very, very critical recommendations," he said.

Lorraine Walsh, a cervical cancer survivor who is one of the 221 women in the center of the scandal, said that Dr. Scally's findings were "disturbing and annoying".

She referred in particular to the report, which focused on the cost of outsourcing screening to laboratories in the US.

She also stressed the importance of women who continue to be tested and said that they save lives.

Dr. Scally is expected to arrange further meetings with other women in the group of 221 and bereaved to inform her.

Online editors



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