Ruth Morrissey: Hopes 'women who are left' won't have to bring CervicalCheck cases before High Court

Ruth Morrissey: Hopes 'women who are left' won't have to bring CervicalCheck cases before High Court

Ruth Morrissey: Hopes 'women who are left' won't have to bring CervicalCheck cases before High Court

Terminally ill Ruth Morrissey may have won her landmark High Court action and been awarded a total of €2.1m against the HSE and two US laboratories over the testing of her CervicalCheck smear slides, but there was little to celebrate as she left the Four Courts.

The young mother - one of the women caught up in the CervicalCheck controversy and who has at most two years to live - said she now wants to spend "whatever quality time I have left with my daughter".

And the 37-year old woman who took on the HSE and US laboratories over the testing of her cervical smear tests in 2009 and 2012, and won, had this message for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: "What can I say, I did not think I would be in this position because our Taoiseach told us none of us would have to go through this, but unfortunately I am the one who had to do it.

I hope that's a positive thing, so the women who are left, they don’t need to do this and fight for their right to have a good life of what they've left.

Flanked by her husband Paul and her solicitor Cian O'Carroll, Ms Morrissey, who was standing with the aid of a crutch, held back tears as she thanked her husband whom she called "my rock".

The couple kissed outside the Four Courts to mark the end of a long legal battle which began in the summer of last year and involved 37 days at hearing as well as numerous other court applications.

Paul Morrissey held his wife as they sat in the High Court to hear the judgement handed down by Mr Justice Kevin Cross in which he said the young mother's life had been ruined.

Mr Justice Cross said Ruth Morrissey from Monaleen, Co Limerick has suffered a life sentence which she is fully aware is expected to take effect within two years and for which there is no reasonable prospect of a reprieve.

He ruled the HSE is entitled to an indemnity against the laboratories in respect of the entirety of the claim except for a €10,000 award relating to the fact that Ms Morrissey was not informed of an audit review of her smear tests.

Finding against US laboratory Quest Diagnostics, Mr Justice Cross said a reasonably competent screener at the relevant time should not have failed to see what was on Ms Morrissey's 2009 slide.

Ruth Morrissey: Hopes 'women who are left' won't have to bring CervicalCheck cases before High Court

The cells on the slide the judge said as per the evidence of Consultant cytopathologist Dr Michael McKenna had clear peculiarities which showed themselves as being other than normal and this ought to have been seen by a competent screener.

Referring to the 2012 smear test by the MedLab laboratory, the judge said that though it contained abnormal and non-negative cells, the nature of these cells was such that the failure to record them as abnormal was not a breach of duty of care.

However, MedlLab was negligent in failing to have the slide properly tested for adequacy.

Had the adequacy test been conducted in accordance with the guidelines required by the HSE and its contract the judge said as a matter probability the slide would have reported as inadequate and Ms Morrissey would have been required to be retested between one and three months later.

Mr Justice Cross said had Ruth Morrissey's slide been properly analysed in 2009 or had the slide in 2012 been deemed inadequate and she had been reviewed within one to three months then as a matter of probability she would have been retested and as a matter of probability her slides would have been abnormal and she would have been sent for a colposcopy and would have been treated using a non invasive procedure and would never have contracted cancer in 2014.

He said she would have been spared the pain and distress of what followed and in particular her cancer would not have recurred.

"She would have been spared the prospect and knowledge that her daughter and her husband will have to go through life without her care and guidance in particular she will not live to see her daughter make her way through life and probably start her own family and of most importance, her life would not have been so tragically cut off," the judge stated.

Outside court Ms Morrissey encouraged women to continue to go for smear tests "even though it failed me."

"It does save many lives" she said and she told young women to avail of the HPV vaccine as "this is a cancer you do not want."

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