Alan Kelly TD Statement on O’Keefe Family v Breastcheck/National Screening Service
“I was contacted by Patsy O’Keefe from Clonmel in early 2018 regarding the untimely passing of his wife Kay the previous year. Patsy got in touch with me as not just a Tipperary TD but based on my work with Vicky Phelan.
“He told me the story about what had happened to Kay and I was shocked. I had not heard of any case like this before.
“I subsequently brought up the case (without naming the family) with Breastcheck and the National Screening Service on 23rd of May 2018 in the Oireachtas Health Committee. Further to that I arranged a meeting with the then Minister for Health Simon Harris in July 2018 and subsequently with Breastcheck in October 2018.
“Today’s public apology marks the culmination of years of struggle by Patsy and the O’Keefe family to get some level of justice for Kay’s treatment. They owed it to Kay. The catastrophic failures in process in this case are clear.
“The question is how did they happen?
“Especially when as the family have said in their statement ‘how could two consecutive mammograms, on the same person, performed two years apart, be misread on each occasion, when every mammogram is read independently by two consultant breast radiologists’.
“As the family statement continues ‘It is extremely hard to understand how the failure to detect abnormalities on four independent readings occurred and clearly indicates a process failure. The responsibility now rests with Breastcheck to provide the assurance to women in Ireland that such failures can never happen again’
“I am a huge supporter of Breastcheck and indeed all screening services. My track record demonstrates this. Screening saves lives. However, it is incumbent on me to ask the National Screening Services and Breastcheck what they have done in the intervening years to ensure no such process failures as catastrophic as this could ever happen again and I will in support of the O’Keefe family continue to do so.”
Notes 1. Statement by the O’Keefe Family & 2 Link to Oireachtas Health Committee Debate 23/5/2018.
Statement from the family of Kay O’Keeffe in relation to the case taken against Breastcheck and The National Screening Service.
Issued by Donal T Ryan Solicitors LLP, Cashel, Co. Tipperary.
March 22nd, 2023
Mrs Kay O’ Keeffe passed away on 12th May 2017 having courageously battled breast cancer for 3 years. By the time she was diagnosed in June 2014, her cancer was already incurable.
Today in the High Court, Breastcheck and the National Screening Service, admitted liability and publicly apologised for failing to detect abnormalities on two consecutive mammograms, taken in 2011 and 2013. This admission and public apology provides a level of justice for Kay, her husband and her family for these catastrophic failures and their tragic outcome.
At two separate meetings with Breastcheck Management in 2018, Kay’s husband asked how such failures could have happened. In particular, how could two consecutive mammograms, on the same person, performed two years apart, be misread on each occasion, when every mammogram is read independently by two consultant breast radiologists.
It is extremely hard to understand how the failure to detect abnormalities on four independent readings occurred and clearly indicates a process failure. The responsibility now rests with Breastcheck to provide the assurance to women in Ireland that such failures can never happen again.
For more contact Lorcan Dunphy 087 7995359 Donal T Ryan solicitors.
Note 2: Oireachtas Health Committee Meeting 23/5/2018 (Second Half of Meeting)