Donegal midwife appeals to HSE to settle case so she can get life-prolonging drug

Michelle NicPhaidin


Michelle NicPhaidin


Donegal midwife appeals to HSE to settle case so she can get life-prolonging drug

A screenshot from Philomena Canning'a video post on Facebook

A Donegal midwife who is suing the HSE over being wrongfully accused of malpractice is appealing for her action to be settled so she can access drugs that may save her life, according to the Irish Examiner.

Independent midwife Philomena Canning from Glenvar in the Fanad peninsula was the leading independent midwife and home birth advocate in the State. She has terminal cancer and has only weeks to live.

She is hoping her life may be prolonged by the immunotherapy drug, Pembro. The drug is available on the public health system to those afflicted with cervical cancer.  Ms Canning is suffering from ovarian cancer.

In the Irish Examiner Michael Clifford reports that Ms Canning was suspended in 2014 and reinstated the following year, but has not practised midwifery since, despite being cleared of any wrongdoing in four separate expert reports, two of which were commissioned by the HSE.

The HSE offered to settle her action in 2015 but Ms Canning refused, as she wanted a full court hearing over what she regarded as critical safety issues in midwifery.

She told the Irish Examiner: “It [the action] will drag on and on. One thing I know is, I want a settlement now.” She told the paper that she is not sure how long she has to live

The HSE is understood not to have conceded liability in the case.

In a video which she posted this morning from her hospital bed this morning Ms Canning says she is being treated for ovarian cancer and has been given a terminal diagnosis. 

She states that it would not be her wish to  make a video at this time, but feels she has"no choice but to, because time has run out for me on a legal action I took against the HSE in 2014, after I was unlawfully suspended from my independent midwifery practice despite no due process, and not a single piece of expert evidence against me. That day, 12th September 2014, signalled the end of my professional life, my livelihood and my reputation, in one fell swoop."