AN IRISH woman who received a false negative on a smear test taken under the CervicalCheck screening programme has died.
Orla Church, 55, passed away at the Mater Hospital in Dublin on Saturday, according to support group 221+ CervicalCheck.
She was one of 221 women found to have had their smear tests incorrectly read following an audit of past results from CervicalCheck, the HSE’s smear test service.
The support group 221+ CervicalCheck was set up in July 2018 in the wake of the controversy.
In a statement, the group described Ms Church as ‘courageous, strong and inspiring’.
“We have just learned with great sadness of the death of Orla Church, a member of the 221+ CervicalCheck Patient Support Group,” they said on Saturday.
“We offer deepest sympathy to her entire family and friends at this very difficult and sad time.
“Many of us got to meet and know Orla in the past months and she was just such a wonderfully courageous, strong and inspiring person.
“She campaigned tirelessly on behalf of all us affected by the CervicalCheck debacle and we are and will continue to be so grateful to her for this outstanding work.
“All of us in the 221+ CervicalCheck Patient Support Group will be thinking about Orla’s family in the coming days and will be available to assist them in any way we can.”
According to RTÉ News, Ms Church had agreed to mediation talks in relation to legal action she was taking against the Health Service Executive and Quest Diagnostics, one of laboratories where tests were sent.
Ms Church is survived by her mother and father, five brothers and sisters and 12 nieces and nephews.
She is due to be laid to rest on Tuesday.
Tributes have been paid to Ms Church on social media.
— lambo (@ellenfaithlamb) 19 January 2019
“She campaigned tirelessly on behalf of all us affected by the CervicalCheck debacle and we are and will continue to be so grateful to her for this outstanding work.” RIP Orla Church. https://t.co/2R0jkqX9p7
— Womenscouncilireland (@NWCI) January 20, 2019
So sad to hear that Orla Church has passed away...it takes a special kind of courage to continue fighting for others in the final months of life and how tragic that her cancer went untreated for three long years because of two incorrect smear test results
— Norah Casey (@NorahCasey) January 20, 2019
Another woman dead due to incompetence and still no one held to account. Shame on this sham of a government. My heart goes out to Orla Church’s family, may she Rest In Peace. #CervicalCheckScandal
— Kellie Sweeney - People Before Profit Lucan (@KSweeneyPBP) January 19, 2019