Saturday 17 August 2019

CervicalCheck tribunals to be private unless requested

Court action: Limerick mother Ruth Morrissey. Photo: Collins Courts
Court action: Limerick mother Ruth Morrissey. Photo: Collins Courts

Eilish O'Regan and Tim Healy

Proceedings at the CervicalCheck tribunal of compensation will be held in private, unless the claimant requests hearings be in public and the tribunal agrees.

The proposed tribunal is aimed at offering an alternative to the High Court for women who developed cervical cancer and who take cases for alleged negligence arising out of incorrect smear test results.

The General Scheme of the CervicalCheck Tribunal Bill, which has been published, indicates that women taking cases will still have to go through the full High Court-style process of proving their claim by showing breach of duty and causation of harm.

It makes no provision for women who may have a later recurrence of their cancer to return to the tribunal.

It comes as a High Court ruling will be made today in the case of terminally ill woman Ruth Morrissey, who sued the HSE and two US laboratories over the alleged misreading of her CervicalCheck smear slides.

Ms Morrissey, a mother of one, and her husband Paul were in court for 37 days.

Legal teams representing other women who are taking similar type actions relating to smear tests taken under the CervicalCheck screening programme have been monitoring the case.

The Morrisseys, of Monaleen, Co Limerick, sued the HSE and laboratories Quest Diagnostics Ireland and Medlab Pathology Ltd, both with offices in Dublin.

It is claimed there was a failure to correctly report and diagnose, along with an alleged misinterpretation, of her smear samples taken in 2009 and 2012.

It is claimed her cancer spread unidentified, unmonitored and untreated until she was diagnosed in 2014.

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

Irish Independent

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