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Viewers were in awe of terminally ill Vicky Phelan after her appearance on The Ray D'arcy Show

“What a strong woman. We owe so much to her.”

000fccaf-870 Source: RTÉ

LAST WEDNESDAY, A terminally ill Irish woman was awarded €2.5 million in the High Court.

43-year-old Vicky Phelan went for a smear test in 2011 and was told that her results came back completely clear of any abnormality. In 2014, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was told that she had just 12 months to live. In the same year, an audit of smear tests took place, and Vicky’s 2011 test results were rechecked.

It turned out that in 2011, Vicky had already had cancer. A gynaecological expert said that if Vicky’s cancer had been diagnosed when she received her initial smear test in 2011, there would have been a 95% chance that she could have been cured.

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Vicky, who is a mother of two, was devastated by this news.

At least 206 other women are in a similar situation to Vicky now. Because of Vicky’s courage to pursue her case, Minister for Health Simon Harris has launched a helpline for people who are concerned and has sent a senior medical team to Cervical Check to ensure that every patient whose case was audited will be informed.

Last night Vicky appeared on The Ray D’arcy Show to talk about her situation and her High Court settlement.

Vicky told viewers the devastating story of how she reacted to being diagnosed with terminal cancer – before she had even learned that she had been suffering with the disease since 2011.

I bawled my eyes out. I really just absolutely sobbed my heart out. I tried to pull myself together, splashed a load of water on my face before I went back out.

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I got myself together, I went back out… But my mother knew, mammies always know. She just looked at me and I could barely look at her, and I just shook my head. We walked out of the waiting room and we had to kind of just chit-chat on the way home, with Amelia in the car. Once we got home, we just put something on Netflix for her and sent her up to her room.
I had to tell mam then, it was just awful. It was really awful.

Vicky had to wait until her husband returned home from work to tell him the news.

Ireland abortion laws Source: Niall Carson

Vicky told Ray about how Simon Harris called her to apologise and to thank her for continuing to encourage women to go for smear tests, despite her terrible experience with the HSE.

If the video won’t play, click here.

I said to [Simon Harris] “Basically, look – what has happened to me is awful, but y’know, I do believe in the program, I think that cervical smears do save women’s lives. What I don’t want to happen is that there will be more women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and I thought it was important that I come out and say that.” Because, I think people would listen to me, rather than the HSE at the moment.

While Vicky was speaking to Ray D’arcy, news came in that Dr. Gráinne Flannelly, the Clinical Director of CervicalCheck announced that she would be resigning.

If the video won’t play, click here

Viewers could not believe Vicky’s courage.

She had refused to sign a confidentiality clause, which is the only reason why she has been able to tell her story and help other women to realise that they might have been affected.

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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