‘You have been failed,’ says Taoiseach in Dail to Galwaywoman whose cancer diagnosis was missed

Patricia Carrick, as pictured by her son Ciarán MacChoncarraige

Patricia Carrick, as pictured by her son Ciarán MacChoncarraige

A Galwaywoman whose cancer diagnosis was missed has this week received an apology in the Dail from Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Patricia Carrick was told in September that her cervical cancer is now terminal. Mr Martin issued the apology in the Daíl, saying that Patricia and her family has been failed.

The HSE and MedLab Pathology Ltd admitted that the smear tests taken in 2016 was read in a manner that was “negligent and in breach of duty”.

They both apologised to the mother-of-four in the High Court last month, but Mrs Carrick was too ill to attend.

Mr Martin said that Mrs Carrick and her husband Damien were told of her terminal diagnosis in September.

“It didn’t have to be this way,” Mr Martin added.

“In May 2016 Trish went for her scheduled smear test, a health procedure she always took very seriously and never missed.

“If there had been an accurate reading of this sample, Trish’s cancer would have been identified in good time, the appropriate treatment given and the chances are that she and Damien would be reflecting together on the worrying time on their lives with the illness behind them,” said An Taoiseach.

“But there wasn’t an accurate reading. Instead the HSE and MedLab Pathology Ltd have now acknowledged that the sample of May 31, 2016 was read in a manner that was negligent and in breach of duty. The cancer was missed, the cancer spread and the cancer is now terminal,” he added.

“Trish is going through a challenging time in her treatment. On behalf of the government and on behalf of the nation, I offer my genuine and heartfelt apologies to Trish, to Damien, to their son Ciaran, to their daughters Rioghna, Sorcha and Eoin. You have all been failed,” he concluded.

President Michael D Higgins has also spoken to Damien and the family in recent days. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said we need to learn from this because apologies have to translate into concrete action.

“Anything less than that fails Patricia, fails the women of Ireland, and fails their families,” she said.

Labour leader Alan Kelly said the government owes it to all the women affected by the failures in Ireland’s cancer screening programme.

Social-Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said it is so important that there is some meaning in these kind of statements.

“We have to put the systems in place to make sure they are eliminated to the extent they can be eliminated,” she added.


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