Terminally ill woman had to source her own counselling, court told

Article Date : Feb 14, 2019

Source : irishtimes.com

Ruth Morrissey advised by HSE to ‘furnish the receipts’, claims care consultant

Noreen Roche leaving the Four Courts on Thursday after giving evidence in the continuing action by Ruth Morrissey against the HSE and two US laboratories over the alleged misreading of her cervical smears. Photograph: Collins Courts

A woman terminally ill with cervical cancer was told to source her own counselling when she sought support from the HSE, the High Court has been told.

Ruth Morrissey, who is suing over alleged misreading of her smear slides taken under the CervicalCheck screening programme, was “very low” at one stage but was told to source her own psychotherapy and furnish the receipts, Noreen Roche, a specialist care consultant, said.

It was “appalling” that somebody such as Ms Morrissey, whom the court has been told has a maximum of two years to live, had to source her own psychotherapy or psychological support, she said.

Ms Roche was giving evidence in the continuing action by Ms Morrissey against the HSE and two US laboratories over the alleged misreading of her cervical smears in 2009 and 2012.

Ms Morrissey is consumed with guilt she can’t do normal activities with her young daughter

Ms Roche said the original plan was to put in support for the women but to date no such support has been put in place.

“They are told to source their own counselling and furnish the receipts,” she said.

Ms Morrissey has neither the energy nor the knowledge to get that, she said.

Appropriate person

Ms Roche said she would have hoped the HSE would have sourced the appropriate person to provide counselling and psychotherapy. “These women are left to their own devices to source all the support.”

She said Ms Morrissey presents as a serene woman who considers herself as mentally strong.

Ms Morrissey is consumed with guilt she can’t do normal activities with her young daughter, she said.

She has pain in her right leg and she is unsteady on her feet, she added.

Ms Morrissey and her husband Paul Morrissey, Kylemore, Schoolhouse Road, Monaleen, Co Limerick, has sued the HSE; US laboratory Quest Diagnostics Ireland Ltd, with offices at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin; and Medlab Pathology Ltd, with offices at Sandyford Business Park, Dublin 18.

They allege failure to correctly report and diagnose the misinterpretation of her smear samples taken in 2009 and 2012.

Spread unidentified

It is claimed a situation allegedly developed where Ms Morrissey’s cancer spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in June 2014.

It is further claimed a review of the 2009 and 2012 smears took place in 2014 and 2015 with the results sent to Ms Morrissey’s treating gynaecologist in 2016, but she was not told until May 2018 of those review results which showed her smears were reported incorrectly.

The Morrisseys further contend, had Ms Morrissey had been told the results of the smear test audits in late 2014 or early 2015, she would have insisted on an MRI and other scans.

The HSE has admitted it owed a duty of care to Ms Morrissey but not to her husband. The laboratories deny all claims.

The case continues.