My mother went to her doc­tor... that is why she’s alive to­day

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Emma Jane Hade, Po­lit­i­cal Reporter

ONE of the 209 women af­fected by cer­vi­cal can­cer cri­sis took part in a demon­stra­tion out­side the Dáil yes­ter­day as she re­vealed a 2012 smear test had wrongly given her the all-clear.

Mar­garet Mur­ray was flanked by her daugh­ter Deb­bie English, her young grand­son and friends, as they joined a group of in­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lors who came out to ‘sup­port Vicky Phe­lan and the hun­dreds of women who may be af­fected’ by the scan­dal.

The 66-year-old mother-of-three told the Ir­ish Daily Mail she was only re­cently told by doc­tors of the false neg­a­tive test re­sult she re­ceived in 2012. While she said she is one of the ‘lucky’ ones, the grand­mother won’t sit back be­cause she’s ‘okay’.

In 2011, Mar­garet had a smear test that showed low grade ab­nor­mal­i­ties. Six months later, in 2012, she re­turned for a smear test that was told was neg­a­tive.

But, seven months later, in Jan­uary 2013, she vis­ited her GP, who thought some­thing was amiss. Af­ter fur­ther test­ing, the Co. Louth woman was di­ag­nosed with cer­vi­cal can­cer and un­der­went a full hys­terec­tomy.

Her daugh­ter said she had re­alised some­thing was wrong which was why she re­turned to her GP seven months af­ter a neg­a­tive smear test. She said: ‘You know your own body. And luck­ily enough her doc­tor was per­sis­tent and he checked and he said he wasn’t happy ei­ther.’

Mar­garet said she met a doc­tor in 2013 and was told she had a ‘very low grade cer­vi­cal can­cer’.

Deb­bie said that in 2013 she was taken to St James’s hos­pi­tal for her hys­terec­tomy.

How­ever, Deb­bie be­lieves all that could have pos­si­bly been avoided be­cause two weeks ago the fam­ily re­ceived news that the smear test in 2012 wasn’t clear and should have re­vealed high grade ab­nor­mal­i­ties. An au­dit re­vealed this in 2016 but they were never told.

Mar­garet has had a num­ber of smear tests since, which have been clear, but she and her fam­ily are con­cerned about their ac­cu­racy. She wants a full MRI to rule out the pos­si­bil­ity that the can­cer may have spread. ‘They phoned us first in Dun­dalk and we went to have a meet­ing with them in Dun­dalk,’ Deb­bie ex­plained. ‘And in that meet­ing they ex­plained that the 2012 smear was neg­a­tive. But it should’ve been a high grade.’

Mar­garet said she has had four smears since, ‘and they are neg­a­tive, but how do we know they are neg­a­tive?’ The fam­ily has asked if they can trust that ev­ery smear since has been ‘100% neg­a­tive’ but medics said they ‘can’t give us a def­i­nite an­swer’.

Deb­bie added: ‘They said it’s all up in the air, that, ba­si­cally, an ex­pert team will come in and they will review each of the 209 cases in­di­vid­u­ally and they will as­sess how much the can­cer could have spread, what could have been done, maybe, at that point, the fact that it wasn’t di­ag­nosed in time.’

She said they were told that each case would be looked at in­di­vid­u­ally.

They are ‘look­ing for the truth and to know what hap­pened’, as well as ‘who’s ac­count­able’.

‘Why women had to die for. It’s dis­grace­ful,’ Mar­garet added. ‘It’s ab­so­lutely dis­grace­ful.’

She said the last two weeks have been dif­fi­cult at times.

‘Well you go through very bad stages and you think “oh my God almighty, this could be any­one, this could be any­body, I’ve two daugh­ters, it could be my daugh­ter,’ she added.

Deb­bie said that af­ter her mother had her test she was told not to go back for an­other three years so if she hadn’t gone to her doc­tor, ‘she wouldn’t be here to­day’.

‘On the scale of it all, my Mam’s very lucky be­cause there are peo­ple that are a lot worse off, they’ve died,’ she said. Mar­garet said she has not sought any le­gal ad­vice, as her ‘health is more im­por­tant’.

She felt com­pelled to join the group at Le­in­ster House yes­ter­day be­cause, ‘it’s not go­ing to be the type of thing that “I’m okay, and to hell with ev­ery­one else”’.’

She was joined by Sharon Keogan, a coun­cil­lor from Duleek, who was one of the or­gan­is­ers of yes­ter­day’s event. And they were sup­ported by In­de­pen­dent Se­na­tor Ger­ard Craugh­well who met them at the gates.

‘Each day it’s get­ting worse with re­gard to the num­bers that

‘I’m okay but I’m here in sup­port’ ‘Women have to stand up’

are com­ing out,’ Ms Keogan told the Mail. ‘We have to do some­thing; the women of Ire­land have to stand up. We have to seek ac­count­abil­ity.

‘Some­body knew some­thing, and those that knew and con­cealed it – wil­fully con­cealed it, and kept it from women – need to be held to ac­count. And that is why we are here to­day.’

A spokesper­son for the HSE last night said that they can­not ‘com­ment on in­di­vid­ual cases at this stage’.

Sol­i­dar­ity: Mar­garet Mur­ray and daugh­ter Deb­bie English

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.