‘If He Doesn’t, I Don’t Think He Should Be In The Position He’s In’

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Ruth Morrissey and her husband Paul outside the High Court on Thursday

Earlier today.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was asked about terminally ill Limerick mum Ruth Morrissey, 37,  who will return to the High Court tomorrow – in light of him saying in May that no more women affected by the cervical cancer scandal would have to go to court.

Last Thursday, Ms Morrissey, who has cervical cancer and may have less than two years to live, began her action for damages against the HSE and two laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Medlab Pathology Ltd.

Ms Morrissey  claims smear tests carried out in 2009 and 2012 were wrongly reported as being normal and that a review of these smears took place in 2014 and 2015 with the results being sent to her gynaecologist in 2016 – but she was not told until May this year.

She was diagnosed with cancer in 2014.

Further to this….

The Taoiseach told RTÉ:

“I am very sorry that she has cancer, I’m very sorry for her and her family, I’m very sorry it wasn’t picked up earlier on screening.

“I’m very sorry she wasn’t informed of the audit when she should have been and I really do hope that the treatments she’s getting is successful and it will extend her life so she can see her daughter grow up. I think that’s the most important thing.

“This is an ongoing court action, I’m not in hiding, but I’m sure you’ll understand that I am limited in what I can say about an ongoing court case. I’m not party to the case, some of the facts are confidential, some of the facts are privileged and I don’t want to say anything that might prejudice the outcome.

“But there are a few things that I can say. Certainly what the Government wants is that all cases are settled by mediation so the women can avoid a court trial – that is absolutely what we want. Two cases have been settled by mediation already without a trial.

“Mediation did occur in this case but wasn’t successful. And I spoke to the Attorney General on Friday, I think it was, to speak to the State Claims Agency, to ask that mediation be resumed, be recommenced with the view to settling this case out of court. And it’s hope that that can still be done.

“And that’s certainly, I think, what we want to happen. It is, however, and I acknowledge this, it is the constitutional right of anyone to go to court if they feel that’s in their best interests. And that’s a constitutional right and I perhaps should have been more clear about that, back in May, acknowledging that people have the constitutional right to go to court if they feel it’s in their best interests. And no Government can take that away, nor should any Government want to take that away.”

Meanwhile, earlier this morning…

On RTÉ’s Today with Miriam O’Callaghan, Limerick mum-of-two Vicky Phelan – who is to meet Mr Varadkar on Wednesday – said she is going to ask him to make good on his promise that women wouldn’t have to be “dragged” through the courts.

She said:

“There are another 40-something cases come down the line that are going to have to be taken. So are we going to have to see this at every case that is taken. So, for me, it is to go up there and ask the Taoiseach to make good on his commitment, basically, to the women of this country. Because if he doesn’t, I don’t think he should be in the position he’s in.

RTÉ’s health correspondent Fergal Bowers told Claire Byrne, on RTÉ’s News at One:

“The point here is the laboratories and their insurers have a say also in this, as defendants. They have insurance against each claim certainly being made but they may wish to fight some cases and see how matters play out.

“So it was never in the gift of the Government to say cases wouldn’t go to court because it’s a complex situation and everyone has the right to go to court, including the plaintiff in these cases.

“So there were a lot of promises not realised here. Like promising the Scally review would be completed by the end of June, well that didn’t happen. And that the review of 3,000 smear tests would be completed by the end of May, that didn’t happen. Or that we wouldn’t see more cases like this going before the courts. These things have just continued.”

Mr Bowers said there are 49 pending legal actions in relation to the scandal.

Govt wants all misread CervicalCheck cases settled by mediation – Taoiseach (RTE)

Related: Justine McCarthy: Cancer probe delay is a cruel injustice (Justine McCarthy, Sunday Times)

Rollingnews

15 thoughts on “‘If He Doesn’t, I Don’t Think He Should Be In The Position He’s In’

  1. Alan McGee

    The ‘arrangement’ of confidence and supply between Fine Gael & Fianna Fail means that it doesn’t matter what you or Vicky Phelan or anyone else thinks because they will carry on regardless. And there is nothing you can do about it.

  2. cupofteaanyone

    Leo was wrong to make that promise. when your life is stolen from you like it has been for so many, you don’t want money. Money can’t fix the problem. But by standing up and fighting you can make sure it doesn’t get buried and the issue wont repeat itself down the line.

    I bet many women want to stand up in court and have their say.

    But on another side of the coin, These tests aren’t 100% accurate so some were bound to be wrong. If the women were told the results may not be 100% then do they have a claim? There will be a grey area that will need to be fought out in court.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      It’s not that some were bound to be wrong, it’s that they were wrong and it took the labs and the govt 2 years to let the women know.

      “Ms Morrissey claims smear tests carried out in 2009 and 2012 were wrongly reported as being normal and that a review of these smears took place in 2014 and 2015 with the results being sent to her gynaecologist in 2016 – but she was not told until May this year.

      She was diagnosed with cancer in 2014.”

    2. b

      the tests aren’t 100% accurate when they are carried out correctly, but the issue in most of these claims is when they weren’t carried out correctly and missed obvious results

      The govt shouldn’t have made promises it legally couldn’t keep or at least should have been clearer as to what it could promise. I hope these women fairly get what they are due but at the same time I don’t think the state should pick up the bill for the liability and failings of a foreign lab in order to make the problem go away

      1. Cian

        The State has form in taking ‘joint’ liability and then ending up paying the lion’s share (Child Abuse cases)

        There are currently 200+ women, and the current payouts are €2-€7.5million; if the rest are similar this means a total payout of €400-€800million.

    3. Cian

      “The tests aren’t 100% accurate.”
      What this usually means is that the test (when done correctly) may not always be able to diagnose cancer. Sometimes a woman has cancer, but the smear test doesn’t actually show this.

      These cases so far are different. The tests were carried out, and the signs of cancer were present – but they were incorrectly reported as negative. So the Labs were negligent.

      There was one case recently where the woman has three ‘negative’ smears and then the fourth was positive. When they rechecked her three earlier slides only the first and third were false-negatives. The 2nd one is a case where a woman had cancer – but it just didn’t show up in a test.

  3. Jake38

    ………”So it was never in the gift of the Government to say cases wouldn’t go to court because it’s a complex situation and everyone has the right to go to court, including the plaintiff in these cases….”

    Bowers is right.

  4. dav

    Blushirts policy in dealing with dying women is to drag them to the courts, it’s classic “Baldy noonan” / “making the hard choices” esq

    1. b

      in a world gone increasingly mad, it’s kind of reassuring how you can set your watch by the content of dav’s posts

    2. Elizabeth Mainwaring

      Gosh, young man, you seem most wound up today. It can’t be good for you.

    1. Cian

      Personally, I think Leo was stupid to propose such a solution as it is a complete minefield.

      1. Should the State accept the liability of the Labs, pay the women, and then (try to) recoup the money from the Labs?
      2. And how much should each be paid? How should this be decided? How do you know if the State is short-changing the women? Perhaps they would get a better deal directly from the Labs?
      3. What happens if the State is more generous than the labs choose to be? What happens if the State is out of pocket – the total amounts may be in the hundreds of millions!

      1. Giggidygoo

        If you look at the video, he didn’t ‘propose’ it. He was definite. He, and Harris are liars, and cowards.

  5. Ting-Tong

    dav’s reaction is one of support and empathy towards the women and exasperation at the government
    what’s mad about that?

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