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HSE refusal to apologise for cervical smear inaccuracy that led to a woman's death.

  • 28-10-2022 4:15pm
    Registered Users Posts: 4,127 ✭✭✭

    From what I've read about this case, it seems obvious that the smear test wasn't analysed properly. To say that there's no proof that the inaccuracy of the smear test led to this woman's death is like saying that Earth is flat.

    So why is apologising for failure of duty of care an alien concept to the HSE? What happened to doing the honourable thing?

    Post edited by Beasty on



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,286 ✭✭✭Gregor Samsa

    It’s the same way that your car insurance policy tells you not to admit liability in the event of an accident - even if you were at fault. It’s not the HSE that’s going to pay any settlement, it’s their insurers (Irish Public Bodies Mutual Insurance Ltd).

    While I can completely understand the poor family wanting an apology, looking at it objectively, the HSE can’t reasonably be expected to undermine their own insurance cover.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,771 ✭✭✭✭jmayo

    People should not forget the HSE and government's hero of the covid pandemic response, Tony Holohan, was one of those who decided it best not to inform women of their false negative smear test results.

    I wonder if he ever thought differently after his own wife passed away due to cancer.

    The HSE and Irish dept of health is littered with what they term systemic failures.

    Harry Truman would never have worked in either as the buck never seem to stop anywhere in the organisations.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,771 ✭✭✭✭jmayo

    Oh we know that.

    But it was really an attempted cover up of the fook ups.

    Say nothing was the order of the day.

    Otherwise why would all these women, and sadly in some cases their families, be winning awards against the HSE and smear test organisation if there wasn't gross fookups with their smear tests.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,771 ✭✭✭✭jmayo

    Didn't take long for the HSE apologists to arrive.

    Pray tell us then why Tony Holohan expressed huge regret at the way the thing was handled.

    One might think that his wife's imminent passing might make him cop on what a fook up he was involved with and what hurt was caused?

    But no he still didn't have the guts to apology to a dying woman.

    Asked if he would apologise to Ms Bennett, Dr Holohan said he did not know the details of the case.

    He said he was aware that a letter from the clinical director of the programme had been read out in court, which had addressed the issue.

    Asked if he would apologise to other women affected by the controversy, Dr Holohan said the State and the Taoiseach had apologised for the “significant harm” done through non-disclosure of clinical audits.

    The issues involved had been investigated in great detail in two investigations, but no findings of “adverse functioning” had been made against the programme.

    He described the failure to deliver on commitments to share information with women was a “substantial wrong”.

    Pressed further to apologise, he said: “I have a huge amount of regret at to what happened to women in those situations”.

  • Site Banned Posts: 12,341 ✭✭✭✭Faugheen

    HSE apologist? Far from it.

    You said the women weren’t told. That’s not true. Correct?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,537 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    You know exactly why the family want an apology, and it hardly going to be to you get closure.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,744 ✭✭✭marieholmfan

    You're replying to the living embodiment of dunning krueger.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,744 ✭✭✭marieholmfan

    It was that or nothing. Right now it's nothing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,771 ✭✭✭✭jmayo

    Wippee the chief has arrived.

    Pray tell us then why government actually apologised to women for the way they were treated ?


    I said they were not informed of misdiagnosis years before.

    And speaking about my competence in light of how we are discussing the gross incompetence of the HSE, Dept of Health, etc is a tad ironic.

    Anyway better things to do with my life than chatter with the likes of you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,206 ✭✭✭Montage of Feck

    Why should they apologise unless their was evidence of gross misconduct? Smear tests are not infallible, particularly as they are a subjective test.

    All analytical work is done to an acceptable level of error. That level of error should be determined by cold hard stats not emotions.

    ☦️ Free Byzantium

  • Registered Users Posts: 78,847 ✭✭✭✭Overheal

    and I mean the idea of settling is you may be unsure how strong your case is. Would a jury agree that it was criminal negligence or forgivable human error if the doctors had character witnesses etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 42,759 ✭✭✭✭SEPT 23 1989

    how can the bastards who are responsible for this sleep well tonight?

    and they have the neck to turn up for work next week and take their wages

    shameless total failures of human beings

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,127 ✭✭✭political analyst

    It was outsourced because of quality-control issues with Irish labs. The only alternative would have meant women deciding by themselves whether to seek smear tests and lab technicians reading the data from smear tests on their kitchen tables at home. Perhaps cervical cancer wasn't as well understood then as it is now - a bit like Covid not being fully understood early in the pandemic.

    Smear tests are not diagnostic and so there's never certainty that they'll detect cells that can cause cancer. I'm not sure if there was any point in CervicalCheck to begin with. Perhaps it would have been better if women had followed their own intuition, i.e. electing to have smear tests if they had a suspicion that something was wrong.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,127 ✭✭✭political analyst

    Revealing the smear-test audit as soon as it had taken place wouldn't have saved Irene Teap's life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,776 ✭✭✭Gusser09

    Mistakes happen but the hpv screening is a resounding success in the whole.

    Its shocking what these girls were put throught. Sickening.

    To try and scapegoat Tony Holohan isnt right though.

    We need to try and move on from this scandal and ensure that confidence and trust is at the highest possible level in the program. We cant afford women not to take part.

    Please god the hpv vaccination scheme puts an end to cervical cancer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,119 ✭✭✭✭Igotadose


    HSE has paid hundreds of millions, and possibly billions, out for different issues related to testing but I beleive it is largely due to issues in how the results were communicated rather than the tests themeselves having specific issues because, again, when you order a diagnostic test it comes with an inbuilt error rate assumed already. In other jurisdictions patients are not getting compensation to the same level as seen in Ireland.

    Absolutely correct. HSE's solution to all problems once they're found out, is to buy silence. Cervicalcheck, Savita (that attempt failed), the recent youth mental health issues in Kerry.... Did you know Savita's doctor, the one that misdiagnosed her sepsis, is still practicing in Ireland? That's the HSE for you, never ever any consequences.

    Plus, try bringing a complaint against them. The complaints department belongs to the HSE - effectively, they're incentivized to quash complaints.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,548 ✭✭✭rock22

    @political analyst said "It was outsourced because of quality-control issues with Irish labs."

    That is not true.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,127 ✭✭✭political analyst

    In 2018, Tony O'Brien said that the cervical smear test service in Ireland in 2008 was poor and that the only alternative to outsourcing was the leaving of tests unanalysed for a year and doctors examining tests on their kitchen tables at home.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,119 ✭✭✭✭Igotadose

    HSE still not fit for purpose. 20 years on after an organ retention scandal,

    1. The Doctor at the centre of it back then, is working again in pathology for the HSE
    2. They're holding organs too long and surprising parents with horrible, callous communications "Hi, this is the HSE, you filled out the form wrong. What do you want to do with your baby's body parts?"
    3. Investigations and recommendations in 2009, kinda not implemented yet.

    At least Paul Reid's gone. Maybe they'll eventually have a doctor in charge of the HSE.

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