A Donegal midwife is calling on the HSE to settle a case against her and award her the compensation she needs to afford an immunotherapy drug to fight cancer.
Philomena Canning, from Glenvar in Fanad, has ovarian cancer and just weeks left to live.
She has a case outstanding with the HSE over the withdrawal of her indemnity insurance to practise as a midwife in 2014.
Ms Canning worked as an independent midwife for over three decades and attended over 500 home births in Ireland.
The HSE cancelled Ms Canning’s indemnity insurance in September 2014 following two alleged safety risks. Neither of the two women had complained and midwifery experts found her to be without fault, but Ms Canning’s practice was suspended until 2015. She had 30 clients at the time, which she said she had to abandon.
The HSE went on to conduct a systems analysis into her practice, after which she was allowed to resume practice. The High Court settlement for damages remained outstanding.
Ms Canning said that the HSE’s action signalled the end to her professional life, her livelihood and her reputation in one fell swoop.
She is now appealing for the case to be expedited so that she can be compensated for damage to her practice, her livelihood and her good name. Speaking from her hospital bed at St Vincent’s, she asked for the costs of immunotherapy drug Pembro, her only hope, could be covered.
A large gathering of supporters from Donegal and across Ireland held a rally outside the Dáil yesterday calling on Minister for Health Simon Harris to instruct the HSE to settle her case.
Former clients and their children, called ‘Philomena babies’, led the campaign.
Campaigners said: “Philomena has fought all her life for women’s rights in childbirth, to autonomy, to respect, to the right to choose, and has been a leading advocate here and internationally for natural birth.”
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he believed that Ms Canning had been offered a settlement.
A statement from the HSE said that they are “actively engaging in an effort to bring this matter to a conclusion”.Tags: