Ruth Morrissey spent the last two years of her life battling the State for truth and justice, prominent CervicalCheck campaigner Lorraine Walsh has said.
Mrs Morrissey, who died on Sunday at the age of 39, was among hundreds of women impacted by the controversy around incorrect smear test results.
Ms Walsh, a patient advocate, described her friend and fellow campaigner as a “kind and gentle lady”.
She said she was left saddened that Mrs Morrissey spent the last two years of her lift fighting the State instead of spending time with her husband, Paul and their daughter, Libby.
The State and two laboratories appealed against a High Court decision about the standard of care in cervical cancer screening.
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ruth Morrissey. Ruth's arduous & courageous fight for truth & justice was not just for herself, but for all the women & families failed by CervicalCheck, & all of the women of Ireland. Our thoughts are with her family at this time.— 221+ (@221plus) July 19, 2020
The Supreme Court, however, dismissed the appeals confirming that the High Court was correct in holding the State and the Health Service Executive (HSE) responsible for errors in the operation of CervicalCheck.
The issue affecting the CervicalCheck national screening programme saw women receive all-clear smear results, when in fact a different result warning of cancer should have been flagged.
Mrs Morrissey, from Monaleen in Co Limerick, was initially diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014.
She was not told until 2018 that two smear tests she had undergone through the screening programme in 2009 and 2012 were reported incorrectly.
She sued the HSE and two laboratories and was awarded 2.1 million euro in damages at Dublin’s High Court.
Ms Walsh was among those to pay tribute to the mother-of-one.
“Ruth was a kind and gentle lady, she was a real lady, such a lovely person and never a complainer,” Ms Walsh told RTE Morning Ireland.
“She fought a really hard battle for herself and for all the rest of us, but sadly, she lost that battle to this horrible disease that is cervical cancer, it’s just a disgusting disease.
“She fought hard and she did so much for the rest of us as well.
“The State battled with her every day of her life for the last few years. They brought her to the High Court but she proved that CervicalCheck in the State had let her down and there was a breach of duty of care.
“They fought her again and they brought her to the Supreme Court and she proved it yet again, that there was a breach of duty of care which ultimately cost her her life.
“I’m just sad for Ruth, that she had to spend so long of the last two years of her life fighting for what was right and fighting for the truth, and fighting for justice when she should have been spending that time with her lovely husband and her gorgeous daughter, Libby.”
She said that the stress of going to the High Court and Supreme Court had a “huge burden” on Ruth’s health.
“We are two years on from when this whole thing started and we’re no further on,” she added.
“We still have these women having to fight the HSE and the State for what they have done to them and how they have let them down. It’s shocking.”
Mr Morrissey said that the State nor the HSE never apologised to his wife.
In a statement issued by the family’s solicitor, Cian O’Carroll said it is now “too late” to apologise.
Mr O’Carroll said: “It was a terrible blow to her last year when the State joined again with those labs in appealing that High Court decision. By then, very sick and weak Ruth still made it to the Supreme Court hearings for one day.”
Mrs Morrissey’s funeral will take place on Wednesday in Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen.