“Neither The HSE Nor The State Ever Apologised To Her”


From top: An expert clinical panel, including Tony Holohan former chief medical officer at the department of health, addresses cerevicalcheck concerns in 2018; Ruth Morrissey and her husband Paul arriving at the High Court Dublin in the same year


Limerick mum-of-one Ruth Morrissey died, at the age of 39, at Milford Hospice.

Before her death, Ms Morrissey sued the HSE, Quest Diagnostics Ireland and Medlab Pathology over the misreading of her smear test results and the failure to tell her about it.

In a statement issued through her solicitor Cian O’Carroll, Ruth’s husband Paul said:

“Ruth passed away this morning with her now grieving husband Paul by her side. She died in the care of the gifted staff at Milford Hospice where she has received such loving care over the past year or so.

“Though just 39 years old, Ruth achieve so much in her life and chief among those accomplishments is the love she and Paul shared and the wonderful daughter they brought into this world and raised with love.

“Ruth had a sparkle to her smile, her wit and her intelligence. That sparkle made her wonderful company and her friendship was a gift she gave generously to anyone who knew her.

“It was 2014 when Ruth found out she had cervical cancer and 2018 before she learned that there had been grievous mistakes in the screening programme that were to cost her life.

Despite her time left being so short, the State and their lab chose her as the test case and she showed courage and determination throughout that 36-day marathon trial but she persevered and won her case proving that the State was responsible for the running of CervicalCheck and responsible for its failings just as their labs were.

It was a terrible blow to her last year when the State joined again with those labs in appealing the High Court decision.

“By then very sick and weak, Ruth still made it to the Supreme Court hearings for one day. That was last December. In March the Supreme Court confirmed that the High Court was correct in holding the State and the HSE responsible for errors in the operation of CervicalCheck in a decision that establishes the test for the standard of care for all the other women and families similarly let down.

Despite the magnitude of the harm caused to her by avoidable errors, despite the broken promise of a Taoiseach who said no other woman would have to go to trial, despite using Ruth as a test case through the final years and months of her life, neither the HSE nor the State has ever apologised to her, and now it is too late.

“The Morrissey and Moloney families, in their grief, wish to thank all those who have given help, support and medical care to Ruth over these past few difficult years.

Ruth’s life was a very happy one and none of the hardships of recent years robbed her of her good cheer and positive spirit. She fought fiercely to stay alive for the family she adored.

“The example she set stands as an enduring inspiration of strength and determination that should help many others through difficult times in the future.”

Via Orla O’Donnell

Previously: ‘I Didn’t Think I’d Be In This Position’

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


14 thoughts on ““Neither The HSE Nor The State Ever Apologised To Her”

  1. Cian


    “Ceann Comhairle,

    “As Taoiseach, on behalf of the State, I apologise to the women and their loved ones who suffered from a litany of failures in how cervical screening in our country operated over many years.

    “I do so having met and listened to many of those affected and I do so guided by the Scally Inquiry report.

    “Today we say sorry to those whose lives were shattered, those whose lives were destroyed, and those whose lives could have been different.

    “We know that cervical screening programmes cannot detect all cancers, however we acknowledge the many failures that have taken place.

    “We are sorry for:

    failures of clinical governance
    failures of leadership and management
    failure to tell the whole truth and do so in a timely manner
    the humiliation, disrespect and deceit
    the false reassurance
    the attempts to play down the seriousness of this debacle

    “We apologise to those who survived and still bear the scars, both physically and mentally. As do their families.

    1. GiggidyGoo

      I don’t see Ruth’s name there. I don’t see an apology for dragging her through the courts (which is not the same as apologising for the operation of the Cervical Cancer Screening).
      Cian, posting that as some kind of proof of an apology directly to Ruth with fluffy generalizations really is despicable.

      1. Cian

        You are mixing up the HSE and the laboratories. Ruth wasn’t “dragged through the courts” by the State. She instigated proceeding against the two laboratories that misdiagnosed her (and was awarded €2m from them for that). The HSE was also involved in the case as they didn’t tell her of the false negatives – they admitted liability for this and that part did not need to go through the courts.

        The HSE wasn’t responsible for the misdiagnosis – the labs were.
        The HSE wasn’t responsible for the court proceedings – the labs were.
        The HSE didn’t make the €2m payout – the labs did.
        The HSE didn’t appeal the payout – the labs did.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          The usual attempt the muddy eh Cian? “The HSE didn’t appeal The payout “. Oh clever there Cian. But they did appeal the judgement.

          The Health Service Executive, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, and Medlab Pathology Limited have lost a Supreme Court appeal against a High Court judgment in favour of Ruth Morrissey arising from the misreading of her cervical smear tests.

          So, yes, the HSE, a State organisation did drag her through the courts.

          You’re getting even more despicable now Cian.

          1. Cian

            Yes the HSE were involved in the appeal – the State specifically said it wasn’t about the money (and guaranteed it would be paid to her – regardless of the outcome of the appeal). But the appeal was about the judges ruling – specifically about “absolute confidence” of results and the HSE’s liability.

            The Supreme Court clarified how “absolute confidence” could be applied – but said it would be applied.

            In another section “The Chief Justice said the High Court judge was incorrect to hold that the HSE was vicariously liable for the negligent acts of the laboratories. ” This was really important too. The first judge had said that the HSE was be liable for the performance of the labs.

            She wasn’t “dragged” to the Supreme court. She didn’t need to attend. She wasn’t a witness. She wasn’t cross examined. It was a number of legal points for discussion.

          2. GiggidyGoo

            Your first post was an attempt the exclude the HSE from responsibility.

            Now you’re trying to put the impression across that the HSE were only involved in the appeal? They were involved all the way. High Court + Supreme Court.

            And just because someone mightn’t have been in court physically doesn’t mean that they haven’t been dragged through the courts.

            Of course you omitted to inform that Varadkar had previously promised that no victim of the cervical cancer debacle would have to go to court – and guess what? Ruth did have to do so. Against the HSE (state) are the labs.

            Cop yourself on Cian

    2. Ron

      Still telling lies Cian with your semi understanding of whats happening. Your assertion that somehow the state sat back and it was all the labs that dragged Ruth through court is a despicable disgusting assertion and says more about what type of individual you are.

      I will leave you with these final words from Ruth’s broken and devastated husband.

      It was a terrible blow to her last year when the State joined again with those labs in appealing that High Court decision. By then, very sick and weak Ruth still made it to the Supreme Court hearings for one day.”

      Mrs Morrissey’s funeral will take place on Wednesday in Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen.

      Please don’t turn up to it Cian

  2. Daisy Chainsaw

    Why would they? She’s just another woman failed by the Irish health system. It will happen again.

    1. Dr.Fart

      true. and people seemed to have forgotten about it already, as they lined up to post about Tony Holohan being a hero for covid management.

  3. Joe

    I wonder how hypocrite Varadkar looks at himself in the mirror in the morning…

    “Terminally ill Ruth Morrissey criticises Varadkar over court ordeal
    ‘An Taoiseach told us none of us would have to go through this but unfortunately I’m the one who had to’”

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