Terminally ill woman awarded £1.8m over smear tests

Ruth Morrissey and her husband Paul, of Monaleen, County Limerick, sued the HSE and two laboratories
Ruth Morrissey and her husband Paul, of Monaleen, County Limerick, sued the HSE and two laboratories

A terminally ill woman has been awarded 2.1m euros (£1.8m) in damages over the alleged misreading of smear tests and the failure to tell her about it.

Ruth Morrissey and her husband Paul, of Monaleen, County Limerick, sued the HSE and two laboratories – MedLab Pathology Limited and Quest Diagnostics.

It is the first such case to have been heard in full and to be the subject of an Irish High Court judgment.

Ms Morrissey, 37, was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014.

But the court heard she was not told until May last year that a review showed that two smears taken under the Cervical Check screening programme were reported incorrectly.

She claimed that if the tests in 2009 and 2012 had been correctly interpreted and reported, she could have been successfully treated and would not have developed cancer.

Ms Morrissey also claimed that if she had known about the results of the 2014 review earlier, she would have asked for more scans and better surveillance of her condition.

She was diagnosed with a recurrence of her cancer in February last year and given a prognosis of 12 to 24 months.

Mrs Morrissey told the court she did not think she would ever have been told about the review of smear tests if it had not been for the case of Vicky Phelan, who settled her action against a US laboratory a year ago.

While a number of other women have also reached settlements, this case which ran for 35 days, is the first of its kind to have been heard in full and to be considered in a High Court judgment.

Mrs Morrissey, who has a young daughter, told the court she did not want to die.

The HSE admitted it owed a duty of care to Mrs Morrissey. The laboratories denied all the claims.