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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 9 April, 2020

Terminally-ill midwife Philomena Canning says she's 'vindicated' after settling case with HSE

Canning says she’s both relieved and saddened to have settled the case.

Supporters of Philomena Canning outside the Dáil on Tuesday.
Supporters of Philomena Canning outside the Dáil on Tuesday.
Image: Hayley Halpin/

INDEPENDENT MIDWIFE PHILOMENA Canning has said that she is both relieved and saddened after settling her case with the HSE.

Canning, who is suffering from terminal ovarian cancer, had sought damages from the HSE, who withdrew her indemnity insurance to practice as a midwife.

In 2015, her indemnity was restored by the HSE.

It is understood she has not returned to work as a midwife since and her case was highlighted in a recent article in the Irish Examiner.

In a post to Facebook today, Canning said that the case has been settled and that she is pleased with the outcome. 

“This is a day of vindication for me – the first day in almost four-and-a-half years where I have woken without a shadow over me: the shadow of having been wronged,” the midwife wrote.

It is a relief to wake in the knowledge that I do not have to fight any more: for my livelihood, my good name, my vocation. I have the peace of mind I longed for.

“But there is sadness too. I know that my long-held ambition of bringing birth centres to the women of Ireland may never be realised. But I also know that as the shadow over me lifts, new light is emerging. Fresh energy is rising up. Other dedicated, passionate and skilled midwives will take up the mantle and make it happen. Please know that I will never be far from you in spirit.”

Canning then thanked family, friends, numerous people who had helped her with her campaign as well as her doctors. 

“Finally, I want to say to every pregnant woman out there, and every woman who wishes to be: you have within you the great gift of creation. Therein lies enormous power and potential,” she added.

In her interview with the Examiner, Canning noted that she believes her only hope in fighting her cancer is access to the immunotherapy drug Pembro.

She said she feels she had no choice but to get her case settled so she can access money for the drug.

Speaking to the Dáil on Tuesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it was his understanding that Canning had been offered a settlement. has sought a response from the HSE on today’s developments, with the executive saying during the week that it was, “actively engaging in an effort to bring this matter to a conclusion”.

- With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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Rónán Duffy

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