Tuesday 15 October 2019

Scan may have diagnosed recurrence of woman's cancer but chance of cure extremely low, consultant told High Court

Ruth and Paul Morrissey, pictured at the Four Courts yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts
Ruth and Paul Morrissey, pictured at the Four Courts yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A scan may have diagnosed a recurrence of a woman's cancer but a chance of cure is extremely low, a consultant told the High Court.

Consultant obstetrician, Donal Brennan, who examined terminally ill Ruth Morrissey's scan of February 2018 showing a recurrence of her cancer in the pelvic wall, said the cancer for this "unfortunate woman" was in a very unusual position.

Prof Brennan was giving evidence for the HSE on Day 28 of Ms Morrissey's long running action against the HSE and two US laboratories over the alleged misreading of her CervicalCheck smear slides.

He said the mass on Ms Morrissey's pelvic wall is invading into her hip bone and surgery is not an option.

Asked by HSE counsel Patrick Hanratty SC about scanning patients after surgery, Prof Brennan said there have not been great developments in scanning and routine imaging is not without potential risks.

He disagreed Ms Morrissey was in the high risk category after a trachelectomy in 2014.

He agreed herrecurrence was an aggressive cancer invading the bone and was probably a fast growing tumour.

The radiology features, he said, suggested the recurrence of cancer was aggressive, fast growing tumour which recurred six months previously . The tumour was enclosed and began pushing on the sciatic nerve.

From his assessment, he said he couldn’t confirm the recurrence was detectable before February 2017.

Prof Brennan said it was very unusual to see a tumour invade the hip bone as has happened in this case.

“It is extremely rare for cervical cancer to go in to the bone. This is the first case I have seen of this degree of bone involvement.”

He added it meant the recurring cancer is aggressively invading in to the bone and it suggested it has got very aggressive.

Cross examined by Ms Morrissey's counsel Jeremy Maher, he disagreed with the suggestion the duty of care demanded that imaging be carried out on Ms Morrissey as part of her follow up care after her 2014 surgery.

In her action, Ms Morrissey and her husband Paul Morrissey, of Monaleen, Co Limerick have sued the HSE and two US laboratories, Quest Diagnostics Ireland and Medlab Pathology. It is claimed there was a failure to correctly report and diagnose and misinterpretation of her smear samples taken in 2009 and 2012.

The HSE admitted it owed a duty of care to Ms Morrissey. The laboratories deny all claims.

The case continues.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News