Sunday 25 February 2018

Victims of former doctor Michael Neary win compensation fight

Former doctor Michael Neary
Former doctor Michael Neary

Women whose reproductive organs were needlessly removed by struck-off medic Michael Neary have finally got justice, campaigners said.

Health Minister James Reilly said approximately 35 women who had been excluded from the Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme on age grounds alone will now be compensated.

Payments to those who were 40 or over when operated on will range from €60,000 to €100,000, depending on the number of children each woman had.

Dr Reilly said he hoped the move would be the start of the road to closure for these women who suffered so much through no fault of their own.

"The consequences these women suffered as a result of being patients of Dr Neary were appalling and insult was added to injury by their exclusion from the redress scheme," Dr Reilly added.

Neary was stuck off the medical register in 2003.

A state inquiry later revealed he performed 129 hysterectomies at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, between 1974 and 1998. The files of another 44 patients were intentionally and unlawfully removed from the hospital to protect those involved.

About 200 women have been compensated under a redress scheme set up by the state in 2007 which has cost €20.6 million  to date.

Support group Patient Focus had campaigned for the remaining women - including for the families of two who have since died - to be included.

One mother of two was just three days past her 40th birthday when her ovaries were removed by the obstetrician in February 1992. She was plunged into early menopause.

The extension of the scheme will cost around four million euro and cover former patients of Dr Neary who underwent a bilateral oophorectomy, or removal of a remaining single functioning ovary, performed when a patient was aged 40 years or over, which rendered her immediately menopausal and which was medically unwarranted.

Sheila O'Connor, of Patient Focus, said the women had finally got justice.

"We are very please that this has finally come to a conclusion," she said.

"It's been a long haul. Wearying.

"This is justice for the women. We are really pleased."

The new scheme, which will be administered by the State Claims Agency, opens tomorrow.

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