Quest Diagnostics is to appeal the landmark judgment in the case of terminally ill Limerick woman Ruth Morrissey.

Ms Morrissey was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014 and the case related to cervical smears taken under the CervicalCheck Screening programme in 2009 and 2012.

The 37-year-old and her husband Paul were awarded damages of €2.1m in the High Court last Friday.

The US laboratory confirmed before the High Court that is to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court and is to seek an expedited appeal hearing.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross granted a stay on his final judgment providing €700,000 is paid to Mrs Morrissey immediately. 

In his judgment last week, Justice Cross said that screeners should not give the all clear, unless they have "absolute confidence" that a sample is clear.

Counsel for Quest said the issue of "absolute confidence" will form part of the appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr Justice Cross said today, that in his decision last week, he "decided absolutely nothing new".

He said the need for a screener to have absolute confidence was endorsed by the evidence in the case.

The judge rejected a request from counsel for the HSE, to have the case deferred for another week, while his clients continued to consider the judgment.

While counsel for MedLab, had today been seeking a stay on the final judgment, to allow his clients more time to consider the ruling.

Speaking afterwards, outside the court, Ruth Morrissey’s solicitor said he believed the judgment has been misinterpreted.

Cian O’Carroll said there has been "really quite remarkable, outrageous and hysterical remarks" since the judgment came out, from what he described as "members of the medical profession and officers of the HSE".

He said "only today we heard a threat was being made to the very existence of screening in Ireland based on what Judge Cross, reminded the parties, has absolutely nothing new in it."

Cian O’Carroll added "all that happened in this case, was that law established for some 20 years, was restated and clarified in the way it applies to a particular element of one screening programme, being the screening part of cytology."

Meanwhile, the Minister for Health has said the Government needs to consider the legal implications of the Morrisey judgment, not just for the screening services but for the wider health services including areas like diagnostics. 

However, Simon Harris said that if there is a need to seek legal clarity that he did not want this done in any way that would adversely affect Ruth Morrisey.

The Minister suggested that "decoupling" the damages that Ruth Morrisey was paid from any appeal might be an option to allow her to get on with her life. 

Minister Harris also said he does not believe that screening should be paused and that cool and calm heads were needed while the Attorney General considers the judgment.

He said he would consult with the Attorney General next week and that the Government would have to act in the coming weeks.

Simon Harris said a period of calm was needed and that he was conscious that the standard of absolute confidence applies in other jurisdictions, including the UK.