Europe

Irish smear scandal: Woman who highlighted failures dies

Emma Mhic Mhathúna was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016 Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Emma Mhic Mhathúna was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016

A woman at the centre of the Republic of Ireland's cervical cancer smear scandal has died.

Emma Mhic Mhathúna was one of the most public figures in the 'CervicalCheck' national screening programme crisis.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016 after receiving two incorrect smear test results.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna was one of 221 cervical cancer patients who may have benefitted from earlier treatment, according to a clinical audit.

The 37-year-old from County Kerry, who was a mother-of-five, was told her cancer was terminal in May this year.

She settled her case against the Health Service Executive (HSE) and US laboratory Quest Diagnostics for €7.5m (£6.5m).

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption More than 200 cervical cancer patients may have benefitted from earlier treatment, according to an audit

Quest admitted to misreading two cervical smear slides in 2010 and 2013.

The HSE admitted liability for not disclosing the findings of the CervicalCheck audit.

Along with others, Ms Mhic Mhathúna campaigned over the CervicalCheck crisis for openness.

She was on some trial treatments, but her cancer spread.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna wanted all of her settlement paid into court for the benefit of her five children.

President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to her, saying in a statement: "I was greatly saddened to hear that Emma Mhic Mhathúna has died.

"When I met her and her children in May, I was greatly struck by her poise and bravery, in the midst of what was a very difficult time for her family and friends.

"On behalf of the people of Ireland, I send my condolences to her family, friends, the wider community in west Kerry, and to all those who have shared Ms Mhic Mhathúna's journey as she battled the disease."

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