CervicalCheck Case Set to Return to Mediation
Ruth Morrissey’s claims against CevicalCheck are scheduled to return to mediation, after Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris criticized the fact that the case went to court because it only upset Morrissey and her family more in an already difficult situation. He claimed there was a “roadblock” in the case, despite mediation having succeeded in many previous similar cases.
Morrissey filed her lawsuit after smear tests were misinterpreted under the CervicalCheck screening conducted in 2009 and 2012. She developed both cervical and breast cancer.
Those familiar with the case believe it is a travesty that women like Morrissey must go to court, while also dealing with potentially life-threatening illnesses. The issues women have had with the screening program highlight the need to reform the system in general to avoid medical negligence. There are also concerns about the need for parents of children who are ill having to go to court over disputes.
Some believe Morrissey’s case could be a game-changer in terms of helping the country and the system find a more compassionate way to deal with disputes related to health issues.
At issue is the length of time it took for Morrissey’s medical information from the cancer smears to be assessed. Treated early, many types of cancer can be eliminated or controlled. The longer a patient goes without treatment the higher the risk their disease will be untreatable.
Overall, cervical cancer rates in Ireland have dropped since the introduction of the CervicalCheck program, but there are still details that need to be ironed out the make the program as efficient and effective as possible.
Mediation is one of the best options for resolving these problems and in the rare instance mediation fails, Harris wants an alternative that is just as compassionate for resolving cases.