Symphysiotomy Inquiry Ruled Out
RTE NEWS: Updated: 19:49, Friday, 19 February 2010
The Minister for Health has ruled out any review of the use of symphysiotomy in Irish hospitals.
The group Survivors of Symphysiotomy had called on Taoiseach Brian Cowen to initiate an immediate inquiry into use of the pelvis-severing childbirth surgery in Ireland.
Decades after the practice was discontinued in developed countries, symphysiotomies were still carrried out in Irish maternity units.
The development follows last night's RTÉ Prime Time programme, which documented that Ireland is the only country in the developed world where symphysiotomy was widely practiced in the 20th century.
The programme found that these operations were widespread from 1944 to 1983.
The investigation established that 1,500 women underwent the procedure here, which involved sawing through the pelvic bone to assist with childbirth. Patient permission was rarely sought.
It frequently left the women with chronic physical pain and incontinence. The procedure was abandoned in most maternity units in the 1960s, but continued until 1983 in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Droghheda.
The survivors' group has called for the removal from office of Minister for Health Mary Harney if she will not order a review of the cases.
The minister said reviews are carried out to improve care for patients and as symphysiotomy was superseded by Caesarean section in the 1980s, any review would not now be productive.
Harney Requests Symphysiotomy Report
RTE NEWS: Updated: 11:24, Friday, 26 February 2010
The Minister for Health has written to the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists asking them to report back to her on the controversial practice of symphysiotomies.
Minister for Health Mary Harney has written to the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists asking them to report back to her on the controversial practice of symphysiotomies.
The announcement was made during an adjournment debate tonight in the Dáil by Junior Health Minister John Moloney.
Ms Harney has asked the Institute to report back on the protocols surrounding symphysiotomies, on when that practice changed and why. It is requested to report back by the end of April.
Last week, the minister refused requests from the Survivors of Symphysiotomies group to hold a full inquiry into the procedure.
Their calls followed an RTÉ Prime Time programme which highlighted the issue.