Dundalk hospital's apology to Louth mum with terminal cancer "means the world"

Michelle O'Keeffe

Reporter:

Michelle O'Keeffe

Email:

michelle.okeeffe@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Dundalk hospital's apology to Louth mum with terminal cancer "means the world"

Eileen with her son Seamus

A mum who has terminal cervical cancer after Louth County Hospital in Dundalk failed to properly investigate and treat her condition said the apology from them “meant the world to her and her family”.

Eileen Rushe, from Termonfeckin, Co Louth settled her case against the Health Service Executive in the High Court on Wednesday, March 3.

The 35-year-old, who is mum to Seamus, 14, said her smear test in 2017 was read correctly as abnormal but the Dundalk hospital failed to properly treat her with a certain procedure which would have given her a 90% chance of being cured.

In a letter read in court, the general manager of Louth County Hospital, Dundalk, on behalf of the Colposcopy Unit and hospital management offered “my most sincere apology to you for the failings which occurred while you were under our care”, it was reported.

Eileen, speaking to the Democrat, said: “Seamus’s father passed away from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome when he was 32 in 2017.

“Seamus has been through far too much already.

“I decided to take a case against the HSE, which is a difficult path and is a lot of work when you are so ill - there should be a better process for people in my situation to get answers without having to go to court when you are sick.

“But an unforgivable mistake was made by the Colposcopy department in Louth County Hospital in Dundalk.

“Taking the case was my way of trying to make sure what has happened to me doesn’t happen to someone else.

“The apology from the hospital in Dundalk meant the world to me and my family.

“The apology was important as it removed some of the guilt I might have had, wondering if I did everything right, and everything I should have done.

“The apology means I know, and Seamus knows, I did everything right.

“The outcome is bittersweet.

“Winning the case means Seamus can have the financial stability to have a positive future.

“I want Seamus, when he is older, to be proud of me, to know that I fought for him and I promoted the Irish Cancer Society and highlighted issues that are important.

“I want to make sure I leave this world contributing in some way to it.

“If you let the anger in you would go crazy, so I don’t.

“I am in counselling and am concentrating on the positive and spending quality time with Seamus and my family.

“The apology gave me and my family some closure and peace of mind and I can now focus on being a mum to Seamus.”

Eileen is now concentrating on spending time with Seamus, her parents, and her brother Darragh and sister Treasa, who both live in Dundalk.

Eileen, who went to college in Dundalk and worked in Irish Life in town, said: “My parents and my siblings are with me all the time helping with everything and all spending time together.”

Eileen also features in the Irish Cancer Society powerful advertising campaign showing the real-life impact a cancer diagnosis has on patients and their loved ones.

This year's Daffodil Day on Friday March 26 is the Irish Cancer Society’s most important ever as they provide vital services throughout the pandemic.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, its traditional on-street collections and fundraising events can’t take place for the second year running, having a significant impact on their ability to raise much needed funds, with Daffodil Day 2020 earnings down by €2.3 million.

Anyone wishing to support Daffodil Day 2021 can go to cancer.ie/daffodilday to donate, visit the Daffodil Day shop, or get involved by hosting a virtual Daffodil Day event.