Vicky Phelan, a cervical cancer activist who exposed the CervicalCheck screening fraud in Ireland, died at the age of 48. According to the Irish Times, Phelan died early Monday, November 14, in Milford Hospice in Co Limerick, accompanied by her family. Vicky’s husband, Jim, and their children, Amelia and Darragh, paid homage to the dead in a statement released by the outlet, adding that she left a vacuum that “at this time seems difficult to replace.”
“We said our ultimate goodbye to our dear Vicky earlier today with an enormous load of pain.” She was the heart and soul of our family unit, and her death will create a vacuum in all of our lives that feels difficult to replace at this moment.”
Her family published the following statement:
“[The family recalls] the memories of a loving wife, mother, daughter, and sister whose capacity to cope with life’s challenges inspired not just ourselves, but a whole country.” The outpouring of sympathy and well wishes from all across the world is much appreciated.”
With a Missed Cancer Diagnosis, Vicky Phelan Exposed a Scandal https://t.co/O5Yn44Z2Sr
— erin mccann | (@mccanner) November 16, 2022
Vicky Phelan discovered one of today’s largest medical frauds.
Vicky Phelan had a screening test for cervical cancer in 2011, and the findings were normal. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, and a re-run of her CervicalCheck tests revealed that the initial report had inaccurate information. She didn’t find out about it until 2017. Vicky Phelan sued the US lab Clinical Pathology Laboratories after learning that her illness was incurable and received a €2.5 million compensation.
Phelan said after winning the case:
“The women of Ireland can no longer place their faith in the CervicalCheck program – errors may and do happen, but CervicalCheck and the HSE’s behavior in my situation, and the cases of at least ten other women we know about, is unacceptable.”
After the revelation became public, an independent investigation panel was formed, led by public health specialist Dr. Gabriel Scally. At the time, she discovered that over 200 women had been given false reports and that faulty smear test results had been withheld from them for years. Vicky Phelan then founded the 221+ CervicalCheck Patient Support Group to assist victims of the aforementioned fraud.
Several individuals paid their respects to Vicky and recalled her contributions to society. Irish President Michael D Higgins praised her “strong inner strength and dignity” in campaigning for the public welfare and rights in a statement.
“In all of this, Vicky made a significant contribution to Irish society. Many women’s lives have been saved and will be saved as a result of her diligent efforts, despite the awful personal toll she had to bear.”
She was named one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2018 for her advocacy. The Irish healthcare activist will be given the Freedom of Limerick in February 2022. Vicky Phelan also wrote a book, Overcoming, about her battle with the sickness and her fight against one of the largest medical scandals. In 2019, the memoir was named An Post Book of the Year.