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Mum sues hospital over birth 43 years ago

A MUM has sued a hospital over a procedure carried out on her when she was having her first baby -- in 1969.

Olivia Kearney's case centres on a symphysiotomy -- which she alleges was abandoned in the developed world in the 19th century -- carried out on her at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, in October 1969, when she was 18.

The procedure involved cutting through cartilage binding the pubic bones together, resulting in permanent enlargement of the pelvis, and was wholly unjustified, Ms Kearney claims.

The procedure, allegedly performed by gynaecologist Dr Gerard Connolly, since deceased, led to pain in her back and pelvic area, incontinence, painful sexual intercourse and left considerable scarring, Ms Kearney also claims.

She has sued the Medical Missionaries of Mary as owner of the hospital. It has denied her claims and contends the procedure was justified.

Ms Kearney, of Castlebellingham, Co Louth, claims the procedure was carried out when she, then pregnant, was admitted to the hospital for the purpose of monitoring and treating high blood pressure.

She claims she was admitted under the care of Dr Connolly who performed an emergency Caesarean section on her.

Without her knowledge or consent, he also performed a symphysiotomy, but she only became aware of that in 2002 after which she sought her medical records from the hospital.


In her claim, Ms Kearney says she had no recollection of the procedure being performed and her first recollection was being woken up by nuns at the hospital and being told she had a baby boy.

There was a large bandage around her stomach and hip area and she experienced excruciating pain.

Ms Kearney said she did not see her child until about a week after his birth, found it difficult to bond with him, experienced constant pain and spent the following year in bed.

Her relationship with her husband was affected.

The case continues.