Friday 24 November 2017

Old wounds opened by 'mistaken' verdict

How so many women mistakenly believed they had symphysiotomies deserves an answer

PAST PROCEDURE: Surgeons at work in the operating theatre in an archive image. Picture posed by models.
PAST PROCEDURE: Surgeons at work in the operating theatre in an archive image. Picture posed by models.
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Last week the retired judge Maureen Harding Clark delivered her long-awaited verdict on the hundreds of older women said to have suffered a lifetime of chronic pain, incontinence and discomfort because of a "cruel and dangerous" procedure performed on them in largely Catholic hospitals of another era.

The procedure was symphysiotomy - cutting the fibres joining the pubic bones to give a baby more room to come through.

Her report debunked some myths. Far from being barbaric, she found it was often a necessary lifesaving procedure.

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