Cervical cancer patient who campaigned on HPV vaccine has died

Eileen Rushe (35) received apologies and undisclosed sum from HSE for failings in care

Eileen Rushe with her mother, Mary Rushe, at the Four Courts, Dublin, last March following settlement of her case. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Eileen Rushe with her mother, Mary Rushe, at the Four Courts, Dublin, last March following settlement of her case. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

A terminally ill cervical cancer patient who urged parents to sign their children up for the HPV vaccine has died.

Mother-of-one Eileen Rushe (35) who received “heartfelt apologies” and an undisclosed sum from the Health Service Executive last March for failings in her care at the Louth County Hospital died surrounded by family on Tuesday morning.

Despite the cancer spreading to her brain, she continued to campaign for the HPV vaccine and just last month spoke about feeling “blessed” to have an “amazing” son, family and community around her.

In the weeks before her death, Ms Rushe purchased the local authority house she shared with her 14-year-old son Seamus in Termonfeckin, Co Louth, to ensure he could continue to live in his childhood home, where he has so many memories and good neighbours.

She was diagnosed with stage three cancer in December 2018 — despite being monitored for 18 months when abnormal cells showed up during a routine smear test in 2017.

After beating the cancer initially, it returned aggressively, spreading to her spine and lungs.

“On one occasion, Ltletz [the most common procedure in removing cervical tissue] was not administered but if it was, the likelihood is that I would not be facing a terminal diagnosis today,” she said.

She always remained positive, despite her diagnosis and said she was not angry over what had happened. She detailed her journey in a blog Cancer is a b***h.

She is survived by her son Seamus, parents Mary and Jim, sisters Siobhain and Terry and brothers Darragh and Eoin.