Ruth Morrissey, who won her High Court action over the misreading of smear tests and the failure to tell her about it, has said the main thing was that the labs were found accountable.

Speaking on RTÉ's Sunday with Miriam, Ms Morrissey said she felt excited after winning the case, but that her main feeling was relief.

She said the main thing to come from the case was that the labs involved were found to be accountable and negligent.

"It's not like looking at a sheet or a slide that has no impact, it's somebody's life that you're looking at."

Ms Morrissey and her husband Paul were awarded €2.1m in damages on Friday after they sued the Health Service Executive and two laboratories - Quest Diagnostics and MedLab Pathology Limited.

The 37-year-old 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 court heard she was not told until May last year that a 2014 review showed two smears taken under the CervicalCheck screening programme were reported incorrectly.


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Ms Morrissey claimed that if the tests in 2009 and 2012 had been correctly reported, she could have been successfully treated and would not have developed cancer.

She was diagnosed with a recurrence of her cancer in February last year and given a prognosis of 12 to 24 months.

Speaking to Miriam O'Callaghan today, Ms Morrissey said she had a positive mindset and that she is "not going to let it (cancer) win".

On taking the issue to court, she said the whole thing happened quickly when she was in the middle of her treatment. The whole situation was tough to go through, she added, but it was something that needed to be done. She said it was very, very important.

"When I found out I was impacted we were left in limbo, we didn't know where to turn to. There was nobody there to answer questions for us," she said. 

The only one who had answers was her solicitor, she said, adding that she knew herself she would be going to court. 

Ms Morrissey said she had just gone for a smear test and followed the usual routine and went about carrying on with her life. She said it was so important to get a smear test done and she never missed one. 

She said she then started having symptoms in 2014, and went to get checked. 

Ms Morrissey said she realised in May 2018, when she was told about the audit. She said if she had been told sooner it would have made a significant difference to her health.

She said it was unbelievable and wondered how unlucky could she be.

Ms Morrissey said that right now, she has been given two years to live, but she does not accept that as she is a very positive person.

She said although she responded well to treatment last year, there are side effects which are affecting her ability to walk.

She said she is due to see her consultant next week to have a scan for an update on her health.

She said if there is any doubt over smear tests, they should not be passed.

"It's not like looking at a sheet or a slide that has no impact, it's somebody's life that you're looking at."

"It there is any doubt, then it should not be passed.

"It's not going to clog any systems, it's just going to give more assurance to people that there is a proper screening programme there... because this is somebody's life that you're looking at".

Asked how she stays positive after what she has had to go through, she said: "It takes a while to do it, it's not like I jump up out of the bed in the morning. You've got to convince yourself it's going to be a good day."  

She added: "Don't get me wrong I have my bad days, there's days where I don't want to get out of the bed where I want to curl up and say why did this happen to me, why me, why did you pick me, what did we do to deserve this, and I still have those days.

"But the majority of my days are positive and they have to be, because you have to have that positive mind frame because if you don't, then you're giving up and you're going to let it win, and by god I'm not going to let it win.