A Cork father has called for the resignation of HSE boss Tony O’Brien after his wife was twice given incorrect smear test results before dying from cervical cancer.
In a Facebook post, Stephen Teap said Mr O’Brien should be sacked or resign following the scandal that has left him “devastated.”
“When I look at my 2 little boys this week I’m overwhelmed with emotion as all the “What if’s” come flooding through my mind and I try to come to terms with how different their lives could have been. The reality is their mum is gone forever and this could have been prevented.”
Stephen’s wife Irene, from Carrigaline, died on July 23 last year, following two false negative smear tests in 2010 and 2013.
Labelling the ongoing scandal as a cover-up, Mr Teap said he learned that the HSE was aware of the incorrect readings last July, three weeks before Irene died and made the decision not to pass on the information.
“The Government also a duty of care to address the fear and uncertainty that has been inflicted on the women of Ireland and must, as a priority conduct a full review of every woman’s most recent smear to ensure there were no misreading’s made and not risk any more lives and also in store trust and peace of mind to everyone who is frightened by this most recent scandal.”
The woman who brought the scandal to the fore, Vicky Phelan, tweeted her support of Stephen Teap and his story, saying: “Stephen Teap and I have become friends. Our paths should never have crossed. Irene should be alive and Stephen should not be a widower at 35 and his two boys, Oscar and Noah, should not be living without their beautiful mother. Irene is one of the 17.”
Mr O’Brien has said he will leave his position four weeks earlier than planned on July 1. According to the HSE, Mr O’Brien still has four weeks of holidays left to take and the Government have encouraged him to use them to fast-track his departure.
While this goes on, it has been revealed that 11 of the 209 women affected by the cervical cancer tests scandal have not yet been told and just 1,920 of the 7,521 calls to the HSE emergency helpline have been returned.
The Department of Health has said a patient advocate may be included in any new HSE board in January and The Irish Patients Association, the Irish Cancer Society and the Marie Keating Foundation are all considering public meetings with potential cervical cancer tests victims across the country.