'I trusted him': Ruth Morrissey breaks down as she tells court of cervical cancer recurrence

'I trusted him': Ruth Morrissey breaks down as she tells court of cervical cancer recurrence
Ruth Morrissey, pictured at the Four Courts today. Picture: Collins Court

Terminally ill Ruth Morrissey broke down in tears in the High Court today as she told how she had put her trust in her consultant to monitor her after her first bout of cervical cancer was removed five years ago.

The 37-year-old mother said her consultant should have spotted the recurrence of her cancer which was diagnosed last year but he did not see it for over three years.

The Limerick woman who has at maximum two years to live was recalled to the witness stand on Day 27 of her long-running action over the alleged misreading of her CervicalCheck smear slides said she trusted her consultant to give her the required surveillance and she on three occasions had asked for scans, ultrasound or other imaging.

Counsel for the HSE Patrick Hanratty SC put it to Ms Morrissey the question of imaging only came up after she knew of the audit review of her cervical smear slides.

Ms Morrissey said she would not agree with that.

"I asked for imaging for three-and-a-half years," she said and added she had follow-up visits to the consultant over three years.

She said at one stage she was concerned about ovarian cancer.

“Maybe not on every occasion, but I asked for CT scans and ultrasound. I did ask for imaging,” she said.

She said she did not demand it but asked: "would you not do it?".

She told the court she always felt when she got the recurrence, why was it not picked up.

Mr Hanratty put it to her that retrospectively she was thinking of scanning.

Ms Morrissey said she did not believe that was correct.

I put my trust in the consultant to monitor me. He did not see it for three-and-a-half years.

"I brought my daughter to see him, that is how good our relationship was. I trusted him,” she added.

Counsel put it to her that the consultant had explained scans would not be routine follow up after her procedure in 2014 to remove the cancer from her cervix.

“He did tell me it was not part of the surveillance. If he told me to get a scan for reassurance, I would have done it," she said.

She said she trusted that she was being given the required surveillance and she asked why wasn’t she offered a scan in 2016 when the consultant knew of the audit review results of her smear slides.

Ruth Morrissey and her husband Paul Morrissey of Kylemore, Schoolhouse Road, Monaleen, Co Limerick have sued the HSE and the US laboratory Quest Diagnostics Ireland Ltd with offices at Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin along with Medlab Pathology Ltd with offices at Sandyford Business Park, Dublin 18.

Ruth Morrissey with her husband, Paul. Picture: Collins Court
Ruth Morrissey with her husband, Paul. Picture: Collins Court

It is claimed there was an alleged failure to correctly report and diagnose and there was an alleged misinterpretation of her smear samples taken in 2009 and 2012.

A situation it is claimed allegedly developed where Ms Morrissey’s cancer spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in June 2014.

It is further claimed a review of the 2009 and 2012 smears took place in 2014 and 2015 with the results sent to Ms Morrissey's treating gynaecologist in 2016, but she was not told until May 2018 of those review results which showed her smears were reported incorrectly.

The HSE the court has already heard admitted it owed a duty of care to Ms Morrissey.

The laboratories deny all claims.

The case before Mr Justice Kevin Cross continues.

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