“The Idea Of Going To My Grave Without Getting To The End Is Unbearable”


Independent midwife Philomena Canning (top in 2014 with children she helped deliver) has been battling the HSE for years over indemnity cover of her practice.

Now, from her hospital bed at St Vincent’s in Dublin after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Philomena says her fight is over.

‘I’ve run out of time’: Terminally ill midwife who battled the HSE says her fight is over (Michael Clifford, irish examiner)


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14 thoughts on ““The Idea Of Going To My Grave Without Getting To The End Is Unbearable”

  1. Mickey Twopints

    I must admit that I was previously unaware of this story.

    From the article credited to Michael Clifford:

    “Parallel to the systems analysis, the HSE conducted a peer midwifery review of Ms Canning’s practice. Again, this found entirely in her favour apart from a minor issue over interpersonal relations with a HSE official.

    Notably, at no point was Ms Canning’s practice referred to the professional body, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, which investigates fitness to practice. If there were genuine concerns about Ms Canning’s practice, that was the body to determine whether they were valid.

    The systems analysis was a different matter. It was conducted by two individuals, an administrator and a physiotherapist. It was overseen by the official who had suspended Ms Canning.

    The analysis ultimately laid the blame for the post-partum bleed with Ms Canning, a finding that was completely at odds with all the professional reports into the matter.

    Who is this “official” and why are they not named? This was an action taken by a HSE employee – are they to be left unaccountable for their actions?

    1. spudnick

      +1: it appears incredible that this has allowed to get as far as it has with the same unnamed individual as a constant throughout. And WTF do an ‘administrator and a physiotherapist’ know about maternity care?

  2. micky motiff

    One cannot even begin to express how one feels
    Its time compassion replaced the accounting practices of an organisations which should be disbanded

  3. Ian-O

    This really beggars belief. We have to name these people otherwise this will never stop.

    They are literally holding out for her to die, what sort of sick, psychopathic organisation does that. I know the HSE are hardly paragons of any noble virtue but this goes beyond moronic bureaucracy right into the realms of sociopathy.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      If you won the euromillions, wouldn’t you love to throw money at that kind of medicine for terminal patients?

    2. gorugeen

      If you watch a HSE case in the four courts you will see a huge legal team (sometimes 2 senior counsel) every single time. Often on the other side is one jnr and one snr counsel. They do everything they can to block, hold up, deflect or obfuscate. They literally drag cases out so the other side dies/runs out of money. In cases where they know from the beginning that they are liable, they still drag it out. They put folks through hell and then wait until the last possible minute and fold.
      They have a blank cheque, they use it often. They do not have to justify this spending, ever.

  4. Lisa Godson

    This is a shameful and heartbreaking case. Also note that the woman who had the haemmorhage gave her full support to Philomena Canning and did not want any action taken and Philomena was fully reinstated to practice. With time running out, it is of the utmost urgency that there is further coverage, and more pressure brought to bear on the HSE to expedite the settlement immediately. Fair play to the Examiner for covering it, other news outlets take note…

  5. LuvinLUnch

    Thanks for highlighting this. The HSE went for Philomena because she wanted to set up a midwifery led birthing centre like they have in civilised countries. Women having choice in their maternity care, no way!

  6. gobbledy

    I don’t think it’s that big a deal

    If she wants to offer private practice then get her own insurance

    1. knitmar

      If you’ve read the articles by Michael Clifford (there was a follow-up in today’s Examiner) and genuinely don’t think it’s “that big a deal” , then I must seriously question your powers of comprehension. Her being wrongfully suspended from practice is a very serious matter. The delaying tactics of the HSE and its legal team ought to disgust everyone who may have cause to use the services of the HSE in the future.

      1. gobbledy

        Eh? Why is she looking for the public to indemnify her if she’s acting outside the system?

        She personally may well be operating to an exemplar standard but if the HSE cover her they might as well cover every witch doctor , herbalist, and naturalist eco psychopath in the country

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