Terminally-ill cervical cancer sufferer Eileen Rushe buys council home

‘I can leave bricks and mortar’ for son Seamus’ after living in house for over 10 years

A cervical cancer patient who received an undisclosed sum in damages from the Health Service Executive for failings in her care has spent some of the money on buying the council house she and her son have shared for more than a decade.

Eileen Rushe (35) said she bought the house in Termonfeckin from Louth County Council as it was where she and her son, Seamus (14), have shared so many memories. Her son's father died in 2017.

Now terminally ill, she is relieved to own her own home. “I’m delighted I was able to buy my first house and I can leave bricks and mortar now for Seamus,” she said.

“The council were so great to deal with. It’s the house where Seamus grew up and where we have so many memories. It’s the only house where he has ever lived and is surrounded by fabulous neighbours and friends.


“I’m so happy with my decision to buy there and not some house in a new estate where he knows no one.”

Ms Rushe received "heartfelt apologies" from Louth County Hospital and an undisclosed sum at the High Court last March for failings in her care. The letter of apology from the hospital was read to the court as she settled her action against the HSE on confidential terms.

Her counsel, Oonah McCrann SC, told the court the tragedy in Ms Rushe’s case was that her smear test in 2017 was read correctly as abnormal, but the hospital failed to properly treat her with a certain procedure which, said counsel, would have been curative.

‘Cancer has spread to my brain’

Speaking yesterday Ms Rushe said “the cancer has spread to my brain and there are spots on my liver. I started the first of 10 sessions of radiotherapy this week and then I’ll hopefully be trying Pembro, which doctors are hoping will give me an average of 11 months more, depending on how I react to it.

“People have asked why I don’t go away [abroad] for treatment. But I’m not well enough and I’m not going to gamble time with my family for treatment that may not work . . . It is an option for many people but not for me.

“I feel very blessed for what I have. I have an amazing son, an amazing family and a community that never stops to overwhelm me with their thoughts and deeds.”

Despite her diagnosis, she lives in hope. "I hope to see him [her son] finish his Junior Cert, I hope to see him finish his Leaving Cert, to see him go to his debs and go to college. That's what I hope, but the reality is that I don't know how many of those events I will see."

She urges parents to sign their children up for the Human Papilloma Virus [HPV] vaccine to ensure they don’t suffer the same fate as her.

“I just think that if it existed when I was a teenager, I wouldn’t be dying now and my son wouldn’t be facing a future as an orphan. And that’s the clearest message I can give.”