Deny, Dismiss, Dehumanise: Vicky Phelan on Adrienne Cullen’s terrifying story

Book review: A Dutch misdiagnosis has strong parallels with our CervicalCheck scandal

Adrienne Cullen died on December 31, 2018. She grew up in Limerick, successfully took on the Dutch health system and campaigned for a no-gagging clause policy in medical facilities right across Europe.

Adrienne Cullen is known to many here in Ireland as another “poor woman” who died as a result of a cervical cancer misdiagnosis. For that reason, her name is often mentioned in the same breath as those of Emma Mhic Mhathúna and Irene Teap, both of whom have died since 2017.

Emma and Irene were two of the 221 women affected by the CervicalCheck debacle. What was different about Adrienne was that she was misdiagnosed in another country, the Netherlands. What all three had in common was that they refused to be labelled as victims. In that sense, we were 221+1.

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