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Government has blood on his hands, says Stephen Teap.

  • 08-12-2022 3:21pm
    Registered Users Posts: 4,303 ✭✭✭

    Is Stephen Teap's statement correct?

    Was the government aware that American labs didn't examine cervical smears in the same way as they would have been done on our side of the Atlantic?

    It has to be asked whether CervicalCheck gave women who underwent smear tests a false sense of security. Would it have been better to let women decide on their own initiative to undergo smear tests instead of establishing CervicalCheck, given that women might instead have known deep down whether they were at risk of having cervical cancer, i.e. women's intuition.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,273 ✭✭✭xxxxxxl

    It should never had been outsourced it's penny pinching and cost peoples lives. They always have an excuse to why it's not currently done here. It's cost that is all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,911 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    I can’t believe you dared to misgender the government.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,287 ✭✭✭TheChizler

    They can diagnose cervical cancer early, through smear test due to the changes in your cells, but I only discovered after my most recent smear, they no longer check your cells, unless you test positive for the HPV virus!!

    Cervical check never diagnosed cancer, the smear test was just a screen for cells that indicated a higher risk of cancer in the future. If they found risky cells the person would be sent for further investigation. The current process follows a similar concept, it's incredibly unlikely for someone to get cervical cancer unless they have HPV as HPV is its main (only?) cause.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,426 ✭✭✭Furze99

    Whilst you can understand his resentment, yes he is being somewhat OTT. The Health Service is like the Education System - amorphous and designed to cater for the needs of the majority. Individuals can and do come out worse sometimes as neither can be all things to all people. I'm sure there are many others who fall through the cracks in the health system but we don't hear much about them as often, as their voices are scattered and weak, unlike other strong campaigning groups.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,050 ✭✭✭Potatoeman

    This whole thing reminds me of the blood transfusion disaster and Noonan’s role in it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 43,004 ✭✭✭✭SEPT 23 1989

    the sociopaths running the show care little for dead women

  • Registered Users Posts: 264 ✭✭Astartes

    Should have gone private lol!

    Thats the attitude.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,273 ✭✭✭xxxxxxl

    What's the point of them then why advised to get one ? My partner used to get letters informing they need to be screened.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,659 ✭✭✭Gusser09

    Its almost impossible develop cervical cancer if you dont have hpv. Its the most accurate test.

    I think that is clearly explained in your screening invite.

    Its terrible they way these cases were handled. Shocking.

    I wont get into criticising the screening as it saves a hell of a lot of lives and we need to ensure confidence in it.

    However there are a lot of people in power that need to hang there heads in shame. Tony holohan being one.

    Does the govt have blood on its hands? Stephen Teape has earned the right to have that opinion.

  • Registered Users Posts: 40,290 ✭✭✭✭Gatling


    "Would it have been better to let women decide on their own initiative to undergo smear tests instead of establishing CervicalCheck, given that women might instead have known deep down whether they were at risk of having cervical cancer, i.e. women's intuition"

    Women's intuition stupid comment

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,303 ✭✭✭political analyst

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,660 ✭✭✭donaghs

    Giving someone a life-threatening disease accidentally, is somewhat different from failing to detect a life-threatening disease in a screening.

    The nub of the issue with the Cervical scandal as far as I can see it, is not that the result came back false for some women (I think this is always a possibility), but rather that this was detected in an Audit soon after - and the women were not immediately informed - only years later.

    In the sense that these women could have survived, or more likely lived a bit longer with treatment, the government does have blood on its hands.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,178 ✭✭✭Cluedo Monopoly

    He is 100% right and fought hard to get them to confirm what he already knew.

    What are they doing in the Hyacinth House?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,002 ✭✭✭MrMusician18

    If you accept that screening will have false negatives which these women received, then the clinical outcome would have remained the same.

    My fear was that the misinformation surrounding Cervical Check would result in the programme getting cancelled as it appears to create a liability for false negatives. I'm glad that hasn't happened - but if no screening programme had existed, would the Government have this blood on its hands?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,303 ✭✭✭political analyst

    The issue was about doctors' duty of candour towards patients, not the failure to tell the women about the audit of smear tests.

    Even Vicky's solicitor, in an article he wrote for the Sunday Indo, acknowledged that non-disclosure of the audit didn't cause the women's deaths.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 18,063 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatFromHue

    In all screening programs there will be false positives and false negatives. This doesn't mean they've been negligently read though as two screens read on the same day, under the same conditions, in the same lab, by two separate people can give different results. It just shows how subjective reading the slides can be, and in 70-90% of the time they get it right.

    There was an audit done as part of a quality improvement process and this picked up on the false negatives. Because of the difficulty of looking back at slides that you already know the outcome to this process is termed educational. The disclosure of these false negatives to the women involved was handled very badly. Most other countries don't do disclosure for this and the women were all already receiving treatment.

    All the labs involved had false negatives, even the Irish one.

    Scally did find that one of the labs, CPL, outsourced some of their work to other labs that the HSE did not know about. CPL has not been a provider to the HSE since 2013 and he didn't say whether there were issues with their outsourced slides. He does point out that all labs have performance which is acceptable in their countries. I'm not sure if this is in reference to CPL and their outsourced slides, the report is a bit unclear here.

    There's a section on retrospective bias in Scally's report and he repeatedly points out the difficulty in looking back at a slide from years ago that you already know the outcome to.

    After the scandal there was a review to compare Cervical Check to other countries similar programs and it was found that our results were in line with international norms.

    There is an awful tragedy involved in cervical cancer and people who have a terminal illness. Unfortunately the method the courts used to distinguish between the acceptable margin of error and negligence would never be accepted under any scientific program as it was so weak. At the time there were very justified fears in the scientific community for the viability of screening in Ireland altogether once this story broke. Finding that one of the labs had outsourced some of their work doesn't mean negligent reading of the slides involved.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,546 ✭✭✭rock22

    @political analyst asked "Was the government aware that American labs didn't examine cervical smears in the same way as they would have been done on our side of the Atlantic?"

    The answer is yes, the minister was well aware of the difference in screening in Ireland/UK and US

    @SEPT 23 1989 wrote "the sociopaths running the show care little for dead women"

    I believe the Minister who made the decision was a woman

  • Registered Users Posts: 577 ✭✭✭VillageIdiot71

    Excellent link, really brings out how the HSE end up looking like the bad guys for doing the right thing.

    On the OP, I think the issue is we all accept a husband will rage at the world for the loss of his wife. The problem is when that rage gets accepted as if it was serious commentary.

    Who would have the courage to say "Sorry for your trouble, and we've all lost people who are dear to us so we do understand your sense of loss. But no-one has blood on their hands as a result of initiating a programme that has saved many women's lives. I understand that's little comfort for the fact this programme, that was helpful to others, didn't help your wife."

    What would you say to someone who said that? Don't be a dick? Don't be worse than a dick?