Dutch health body to further investigate Irish woman’s death

Adrienne Cullen (58) died of cervical cancer as a result of Dutch hospital’s negligence

File photograph of Adrienne Cullen. A report in May by the Utrecht hospital in question showed there had been two opportunities to save Ms Cullen’s life by diagnosing what was then early-stage cancer

File photograph of Adrienne Cullen. A report in May by the Utrecht hospital in question showed there had been two opportunities to save Ms Cullen’s life by diagnosing what was then early-stage cancer

 

The Dutch health inspectorate is to open a “further investigation” into the case of Adrienne Cullen, the 58-year-old Irish woman who died of cervical cancer last New Year’s Eve as a result of medical negligence by a Dutch hospital.

In a letter to Ms Cullen’s widower, Peter Cluskey, the inspectorate said the decision had been taken last week to further investigate the case. It will begin immediately and continue through August and September.

A report in May by the hospital, UMC (University Medical Centre) Utrecht showed there had been not one but two opportunities to save Ms Cullen’s life by diagnosing what was then early-stage cancer.

Misread tissue sample

In 2011, the results of a tissue sample were lost before they reached her doctor. In the second case, a pathologist – and a pathology technician – misread a tissue sample that was later judged to be cancerous by 11 other pathologists.

Responding, Mr Cluskey welcomed the new investigation: “I hope it will have an independence that the May report – where the hospital essentially investigated itself – did not have and could not possibly have had.”

He went on: “I believe it is irresponsible of UMC Utrecht not to be more candid about whether and how they are checking other patients’ tests. That silence is totally in line with the hospital’s authoritarian share-no-information ethos.”