Irish cervical cancer activist dies at 39

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Ruth Morrissey and husband Paul, of Monaleen, County Limerick


Irish cervical cancer activist Ruth Morrissey, who was awarded € 2.1million (£ 1.8million) in damages for alleged misreading of smear tests, has died of age 39 years old.

Ms Morrissey had claimed that if the 2009 and 2012 tests had been correctly interpreted and reported, she could have avoided developing cancer.

She pursued the Health Service Executive (HSE) and two laboratories in 2018.

In a statement, her husband Paul said she never received an apology.

He added that it was now “too late” for the HSE or the state to apologize.

Ms Morrissey died at Milford Hospice in County Limerick on Sunday morning.

In her lawsuit, the High Court learned that Ms Morrissey was only made aware in 2018 that a review four years earlier had shown that tests carried out under the CervicalCheck screening program had been reported to be incorrectly.

The HSE acknowledged it owed a duty of care to Ms Morrissey, while the labs rejected all claims.

In February 2018, she was diagnosed with a recurrence of her cancer and a prognosis of 12 to 24 months.

‘Inspiration’

Testifying in court in July 2018, Ms. Morrissey said that she must have had the “toughest conversation” she had ever had with her then 7-year-old daughter.

She told the court she didn’t want to die.

This was the first such case to be heard in full in the Republic of Ireland and considered by a judgment of the High Court.

In July 2020, the Irish Supreme Court learned that the family had received the full amount allocated to them.

Paul Morrissey said his wife showed “courage and determination” during the trial and that she was a “lasting inspiration of strength and determination that should help many others through difficult times in the future. “.

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