‘Laboratories Said There Was Now No Imminent Risk’


Top: Ruth Morrissey outside the High Court last week

RTE reports:

“The legal action being taken by a 37-year-old woman with cervical cancer who is suing the Health Service Executive and two laboratories over the incorrect reporting of two smear tests, has been adjourned until September.

The High Court has been told that Ruth Morrissey, a mother-of-one from Limerick, has responded well to treatment so far.

Mrs Morrissey has been told that she could have less than a year to live.

… Mrs Morrissey’s lawyers wanted the case to continue in August.

But the two laboratories – Quest Diagnostics and Medlab Pathology – asked the court to adjourn the matter until later in the year.

They said it made more sense to continue the case after the result of that further scan were known.

Lawyers for the laboratories said there was now no imminent risk to Mrs Morrissey and less requirement for the matter to be heard urgently.”

Morrissey case over incorrect smear tests adjourned until September (RTE)

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


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3 thoughts on “‘Laboratories Said There Was Now No Imminent Risk’

    1. Cian

      Okay, I’ll answer this – but in general terms*.

      These women are seeking damages. The damages aren’t for the misdiagnosis per se – they are reparation for the pain, and suffering, and loss of amenity caused by the misdiagnosis. A ‘fair’ amount for damages this is completely dependant on the nature of the injury and the outcome for the woman. Also under Irish law they have one chance at this – whatever amount is agreed is final – there is changing-your-mind or going back for more money.

      Let’s do a thought experiment. We’ll look at some possible outcomes for three similar cases (Woman, married, aged 35, 1 child (aged 5), 2 false-positive smears, diagnosed with cancer last year, secondary cancer this year). We can calculate a figure for the ‘pain, and suffering, and loss of amenity’ from misdiagnoses to today (it is happened – we can measure it) and for this example lets says it is identical for all three.
      are the same. So a monitory figure could be reached…

      We just want to work out how much money is needed for the rest of their lives…
      a) Woman A is very sick, spends 6 months in hospital and dies soon after. Her child needs additional support for 13 years.
      b) Woman B is also very sick, but responds well to treatment, spends 18 months in-and-out of hospital but survives and lives a healthy rest-of-life. Her child needs support for 18 months.
      c) Woman C is very sick, spends 9 months in hospital and due to complications ends up seriously ill and ends up needing 24-hour round-the-clock care for the rest of her life. She lives for 20 years. Her child needs additional support for 13 years.

      From these three examples can you see that their needs are different. In a ‘fair’ world woman C would need more money than A or B. Would you agree? If you can agree to that, perhaps you can a possible reason to postpone.

      *I don’t know any of the details of any of there cases (outside what is in the media) – I’m just trying to understand them.

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