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The Rose of Tralee

By Mahons On October 7th, 2018

Emma Mhic Mhathuna, age 37 and mother of five passed away due to cancer. Such a tragic story would usually just be sad. Where it is infuriating is the fact that she did not have to die.

She was one of the women in Ireland essentially killed by false readings by an American Lab that tesulted in them not seeking treatment that would have saved their lives.

I admire her righteous anger, her beating them in Court, and her determination to help save others even though she could not save herself. The magnitude of the unfairness of it all stuns me. She rightly noted that she had to speak up while dying to motivate the government to do more than words.

Women and children first is a maritime fable and clearly not the reality in our world which seems them the victims of church, government and corporate scandals time and again.

I love that one of the last things she did was a Comdey standup routine devoid of bitterness and displayed that Irish self-effacing humor. May her sons fully recognize the courage she had.

43 Responses to “The Rose of Tralee”

  1. Yes, it was incredible to see the natural courage she showed facing death.

    From an older or single person it would have been incredible, but for a person knowing she was leaving so many of her darling children behind to carry on without her, her fortitude was saint-like.

  2. Heartbreaking story:


  3. good post

    fix your spelling error I sent your post out to a wider audience.

  4. I believe that there are two US private companies that gave false readings

    The first is NJ bases Quest Diagnostics, which is well known. They have a location seven blocks from my house, for the collection of blood tests etc. They have annual revenues of about $8 billion

    Other tests were done by Clinical Pathogy Laboritories of Texas

    Other tests were done by a third, Irish owned laboratory

    I believe that all three of the laboratories were found to have made errors

  5. based

  6. She was a very brave woman and should not have died.

    The labs that made errors should be charged with murder due to their negligence.

    Why didn’t the Irish medical system have checks against this? Tests should be reviewed for possible errors. Was there no double-check procedure in place?

    Hopefully Emma’s death will bring about necessary changes and it will not happen again.

  7. You don’t get charged for murder for negligence. If you did, no one on the face of the earth would ever want to be a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or lab technician.

    I would venture to say that any medical professional who has ever lived has made mistakes. They make mistakes because they are human beings and human beings make mistakes.

    If this awful situation happened due to error, that’s one thing. If it happened due to intentional cutting of corners, that’s another thing. I would not know enough to say

  8. Good background info at 6:35 from Phantom.

  9. “You don’t get charged for murder for negligence.” You can be charged with negligent homicide.

  10. NYer,

    I believe the whole process was outsourced to US labs as an “efficiency”.

    To be fair, the bigger scandal here was the lack of communication of the erroneous results by the HSE in Ireland rather than the actual errors. I understand these are very rare but can happen.

  11. It would be a medical negligence case, which has a three pronged test and notoriously difficult to prove the ‘reasonable man’ threshold was changed in the Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee case to the reasonable professional man, in this case doctors.

    When you have a group of doctors deciding medical negligence they normally close rase as, as Phantom says above. any medical professional makes human mistakes, and one day it could be them being judged by their peers.

  12. * close ranks.

  13. Paul

    Your 1058 has a whiff of cynicism about it.

    How would you know that the doctors are making bad review decisions ( covering up/closing ranks in a trade solidarity ). Can you cite examples of this?

    What alternate system for reviewing negligence/errors would you propose?

    In the US, assigning blame in civil ( money ) liability cases is the job of civilian jurors who don’t have any medical knowledge. So you have had large verdicts and multi million dollar cash settlements based on bad science / bad reasoning ( juries have ” found ” that breast implants found to cause autoimmune disorders, or that bad acts by baby doctors caused cerebral palsy.)

    AFAIK you have not had findings like this in other countries, nor have you had verdicts like these in other countries. But you have them here when highly skilled lawyers ( Gerry Spence, John Edwards ) manipulate grossly unqualified juries who don’t have the slightest knowledge that might be needed to make such decisions.

  14. Criminal liability in medical cases in the US would also be decided by jurors here.

    But AFAIK such cases as respects negligence would be rare here. As in my opinion they should be rare.

    Knowingly doing a bad thing should be a crime, making a mistake should generally not be.

  15. Phantom, I’m citing the accepted wisdom of the various legal academics, solicitors and barristers that I had law lectures with.

    I don’t have an alternative. It’s a double edged sword between porfessionals closing ranks as I state to bad decisions based on layman’s knowledge which you state.

  16. Fair enough.

    But one thing is clear – there are far too many errors made in the increasingly complex medical field. In all our countries. For many reasons.

    It’s possible to reduce the error rate greatly, a fact that is discussed at considerable length in this excellent and readable short book, written by a surgeon

  17. Women and children first is a maritime fable

    It didn’t used to be a fable.

    When the Titanic sank, many men gave their seats on the lifeboats to women and children. A disproportionate number of women survived ( 316 out of 425 )

    The movie showed otherwise, and the movie lied.

    One of those who died was John Jacob Astor, maybe the richest man in the world at the time.

  18. As always, it is not the mistake but the cover up which is the more infuriating item.

  19. Phantom – I meant that the benign phrase women and children first (derived from maritime expression) is not a general course of conduct as it applies to many things in the real world.

  20. Very good

  21. Is it alleged that the labs Covered up the errors Or that the Irish government , Or both?

  22. It appears to be a communications error, compounded by poor oversight, with reports revealed only through litigation that the Testing Company told doctors not to advise patients of certain results.

  23. the Testing Company told doctors not to advise patients of certain results.

    That certainly looks like something other than mistake / negligence.

  24. //When the Titanic sank, many men gave their seats on the lifeboats to women and children. A disproportionate number of women survived//

    The Titanic actually had more lifeboats than was usual for the time and more than was required.

    About 1,200 people could have been saved if they had only taken to the boats. But most of the lifeboats, especially those lowered early on in the disaster, went down half empty.

    Another intersting contrast to today’s world is the story of the Carpathia, the ship that picked up the survivors of the Titanic. It was sailing from NY to the Mediterranean in the icy waters when it got the signal from the ship in distress after midnight. The captain immediately ordered a turnaround and that the heating and hot water be turned off to get more energy for the engines to make speed to the Titanic. Any passenger who compained was told to prepare drinks and bedding for the survivors.

    Later when he was sailng back to NY with the rescued passengers, the world was going crazy for news of the story. While still at sea, the captain got several offers of cash from newspapers for confirmation that certain wealthy passengers had survived. But he gave orders that no information be provided to anyone except the authorities.

    Contrast that with this very Italian disaster


    Mafia cocaine on board, a captain dallying with his dancer lover on the bridge and a mad decision to sail close to the shore to impress the people on land.

  25. It is inexcusable there is still not “a clear and determined” commitment from the State to investigating why the smear tests of the late Emma Mhic Mhathúna and others were misread, her solicitor has said.

    Cian O’Carroll said Emma, who died aged 37 on Sunday, had been adamant she wanted accountability, “that errors must be stopped”.

    But he said while the State had a right to send in Hiqa to investigate why errors happened in the laboratories reading smear tests this had not been done.


    Maybe the Irish govt has more important things to do.

    The Titanic crew acted with great honor, as did very many passengers.

    There have been other recent cases of bad recent conduct by captain and crew of cruise ships. An incident off South Africa, where the captain abandoned ship with passengers still on board, comes to mind.

  26. MTS Oceanos was a French-built and Greek-owned cruise ship that sank in 1991 due to uncontrolled flooding. Her captain and some of the crew were convicted of negligence for fleeing the ship without helping the passengers.


  27. //There have been other recent cases of bad recent conduct by captain and crew of cruise ships//

    To say nothing of limos driving a wedding party through NY State. I hear the car had been deregistered, but was somehow still able to drive around. Over here, a deregistered vehicle immediately gets its registration plates taken off.

  28. Noel

    Yes. I was just discussing that with someone.

    The driver shouldn’t have been driving and the car should not have been on the road.

    The German ? procedure sounds entirely correct.

    The intersection was thought to be very badly designed for the amount of traffic there, there had been many complaints from local residents.

    This type of thing is called an accident, but I don’t see it as a true accident. The driver and owner of the company all were intentionally doing the wrong thing based on what is now known.

  29. This story may be about to take an astonishing turn

    The aging limousine that crashed Saturday in Schoharie County, killing 20, was operated by a company with a record of failed inspections — and an owner who was a controversial FBI informant.

    The 2001 Ford Excursion was operated by Prestige Limousine, a small company that shares an address with a run-down motel in the Saratoga County town of Wilton, just north of tony Saratoga Springs.

    Federal records indicate the company is owned by Shahed Hussain, whose backstory includes numerous stints as an undercover informant for the FBI.


  30. Weird. Like something from a HBO series.

  31. The three vehicles that he owns have been inspected five times in the last two years, and on four of those occasions the vehicle was ordered out of service as unsafe until repairs could be made, the database showed.
    In brief remarks Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the vehicle that crashed had recently failed a state Department of Motor Vehicles inspection.

    Hussain immigrated from Pakistan in the early 1990s, fleeing a murder charge that he later said was trumped up, according to news reports. He worked as a translator for the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles but was caught helping people cheat DMV exams in return for money.

    He later was accused of making fraudulent statements in a personal bankruptcy case as well.

    Three years later, Hussain went undercover in Newburgh, Orange County, helping the FBI win conviction of four men who they accused of planning to shoot down airliners and plant bombs in Bronx synagogues. Critics said Hussain induced the men to plot the crimes by offering cash payments.


    And just as I mentioned HBO

    HBO aired a documentary on the case, The Newburgh Sting, in 2014. A New York Times reviewer said the documentary laid out a convincing case that the four men had been “fall guys” for the FBI.

    Mind you, you have to hand it to Yank journalists, they really get their stories out real fast. This happened only yesterday and they already have all the background info.

    Hard to imagine how 20 people could be killed in a single road accident. Grim.

  32. Absolutely crazy story. Unreal. You have to wonder if he’said the Pakistan version of Whitey Bulger.

  33. // the Pakistan version of Whitey Bulger.//

    I though the Pakistan version of Walter Mitty.

    But thanks for the reference, which I had to check out. What an incredible story. Rockball O’Rourke, Spike O’Toole, “Balloonhead” Halloran … I never knew there were Irish mobs like that in the US as late as the 1980s. Some of their money even made its way to the IRA.

  34. Menon’s

    Good post mate.

  35. Noel

    Hard to imagine how 20 people could be killed in a single road accident.

    This is truly shocking, but in some ways I’m surprised events like this don’t happen more often. Road accidents are the biggest cause of death for younger people.
    The media always seems to sensationalise reported murders, such as the stabbings in London, but mostly ignores the massively higher death rate from road accidents.

  36. No matter how you measure it, the motor vehicle death rate in the US is far higher than it is in the UK.

    Canada, deeply similar to the US, is safer than the US.


  37. Speaking of death, am I the only one that percieves a distinct ebbing of life from ATW?

  38. Yes.

    It’s quiet.

  39. sssshhhh you’ll wake the children

  40. I saw this beautiful picture of Aberdeenshire today a neat looking place.


  41. Good bye sweet Haley you did a great job…..

  42. That’s Allan’s house

  43. that’s the loony bin….?

    shit send me…..