13 June 2012
Symphysiotomy victims meet Oireachtas Justice Committee
Health Ministers Mary Harney and Mícheál Martin refused to sanction official inquiries into this medical scandal
WOMEN who underwent the brutal symphysiotomy surgical procedure in Irish hospitals between the 1940s and 1980s are at an Oireachtas Justice Committee meeting today to press their case for a full investigation into how this was allowed to happen.
During their terms as Health Minister, both former Progressive Democrats leader Mary Harney and current Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin refused to sanction official inquiries into the scandal.
Symphysiotomy and pubiotomy carry more risk than Caesarean section. This brutal surgery unhinged the pelvis and often led to long-term walking difficulties, bladder problems and chronic pain.
Ireland was the only country in the Western world to practise these 18th century operations in the mid to late 20th century. They were done mainly for religious reasons by obstetricians who were opposed to family planning and also for training and experimental purposes. One baby in ten died.
The support offered by Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD to the campaigning group ‘Survivors of Symphysiotomy’ and victims of this awful hospital practice has been acknowledged.
Catherine Halloran, Political Correspondent of the Irish Daily Star, said on Twitter:
“To be fair to Caoimhghin Ó Caolain, he is the only politician to constantly fight for the plight of the symphisiotomy survivors.”
Read the An Phoblacht feature from April 2012, Tears as Dáil hears horrors in Irish hospitals.
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