A Dying Hero’s Own Thoughts and Prayers

[Photo New York Times]. Niall Carson / PA Images, via Getty.

Vicky Phelan died of cervical cancer last month at age 48 in County Limerick, Ireland. She had been an advocate for fellow victims of botched Pap smears. Her ringing demand for freedom from callous, corrupt leadership has universal application.

“I don’t want your apologies. I don’t want your tributes,” she wrote. “I don’t want your aide-de-camp at my funeral. I don’t want your accolades or your broken promises. I want action. I want change. I want accountability.”

(Vicky Phelan, from her open letter to Ireland’s leaders in 2020, after the death of Ruth Morrissey, age 39)

Irish health authorities argued over who should inform 200 cancer victims of “negative” smear tests followed by cervical cancers that should have been flagged as likely positive. They took two years to notify doctors, and many women weren’t told of the error that had delayed their diagnoses. Some 30 have died. The CEO of the Irish Cancer Society faults a “patriarchal” health system that can be particularly harmful to women.

Acrylic on cardboard.

Politicians have paid tribute to Ms. Phelan for helping expose the scandal, but a law proposed four years ago granting patients the right to be told about their own cases has yet to be passed.

(Ed O’Loughlin, “A Botched Cancer Test, a National Scandal, and an Irish Hero,” New York Times, 11-16-22)

(c) 2022 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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3 Responses to A Dying Hero’s Own Thoughts and Prayers

  1. Priti says:

    Very sad! RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This leaves me feeling so angry and sad. You’d think by now we would have seen change and accountability from the health authorities. I didn’t know about this so thank you. (I like the strength and immediacy of your painting too)

    Liked by 1 person

    • JMN says:

      Thank you for commenting, Sue. Berobed solons everywhere seem to hold progress to a glacial pace on so many fronts. I appreciate your compliment for the painting. Cheers and regards — Jim


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