Saturday 3 December 2016

Women suffered brutal surgery in childbirth – report

Independent.ie reporters

Published 21/06/2011 | 14:40

Irish women were subjected to a brutal form of surgery during childbirth, as caesarean sections were withheld from them, a new report has revealed.

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Survivors of symphysiotomy will consider bringing its case to the UN Committee on Torture and the body is also expected to call on the Government to establish an independent inquiry into the brutal form of childbirth surgery.

The procedure, called pubiotomy, involved cutting the pubic bone in order to enable what doctors said were "difficult" births.

It was also carried out where a similarly harsh operation - a symphysiotomy, which split the pelvis - was too difficult.

Up to 1,500 symphysiotomies were carried out in Ireland between 1944 and 1992, according to a report written by Marie O’Connor which found that “hardly any” of the operations were necessary.

The report said that caesarean sections were withheld from women in case they chose to limit their families as a result.

The report concludes that the operations were an abuse of medical authority and a violation of human rights.

Many women who underwent the procedure experienced chronic pain, incontinence, difficulty walking and a lifetime of medical intervention.

The report will refute claims given to Dáil deputies on the issue over the past ten years and find that successive ministers were misinformed by the Department of Health.

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