CervicalCheck scandal victim identified

A Fermoy man has revealed that his late wife is one of the 17 women identified by the HSE as having died after a review found they were mistakenly given the all-clear for cancer.

Paul Dingivan has gone public to reveal that he has been told that a clear smear test result his wife Julie received in 2009 was found to be inaccurate following a review in September 2016 — but she was never told.

Julie was 36 years old when she died of cervical cancer in Marymount Hospice in April 2017.

She is survived by Paul, their daughter Ali, her son Craig from a previous relationship, and her step-daughter Jasmine.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2013, and began treatment.

Despite brief moments of reprieve where the treatment appeared to have worked, the cancer returned and she passed away in April of last year.

An audit of the CervicalCheck screening programme found that 208 women who would later be diagnosed with cervical cancer were originally given an incorrect all-clear result following a smear test.

Of these, 162 were not told about the audit results.

A fortnight ago, Patrick Lynch, chairman of the HSE Serious Incident Management Team, revealed that 17 of these women had died.

A day later, a nurse from Cork University Hospital contacted Mr Dingivan and arranged a meeting.

“The doctor told me that Julie had been identified as one of the 17 women. They said they found out about the test discrepancies in September 2016,” he told the Irish Independent.

“When I asked when the review of her smear test took place, the doctor said he couldn’t answer, but that he would write to CervicalCheck to find out.

“I couldn’t even ask them any more questions. It was like there was something caught in my throat. I couldn’t even look at them, I was just looking at a paint spot on the wall.”

Mr Dingivan says he has gone public with Julie’s story because he believes it would be what she would have wanted, and it puts a name to the figures being released by the HSE.

“She would have wanted people to hear this,” he said. 

“We all said that, knowing Julie, if she had of heard this she would have wanted her story out there.”

“In a hospital, you’re just a number on a file, but now people can see the faces behind all these women’s stories like Julie’s.”

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