'What did you want me to do, wake you and ask permission?' - what doctor told woman (32) he sterilised, inquiry hears

Dr Declan Egan leaves a fitness to practice inquiry at the medical council in Dublin

By Kevin Keane

A YOUNG woman has told how she woke up from an operation to learn she had been sterilised without her consent.

Lorna McKeogh was recovering from an operation when she found out that both her fallopian tubes had been "clipped".

A Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry heard that consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Declan Egan told her: "What did you want me to do, stitch it back up, wake you up and ask for your permission?"

Dr Egan, of Dangan, Co Galway, faces one allegation of poor professional performance in relation to the procedure he carried out on Ms McKeogh.


She was 32 at the time of the operation, June 2010, at University College Hospital Galway.

Dr Egan denies the allegation against him, and his barrister has told the inquiry that her client apologises for his bedside manner.

She said Dr Egan believed this was the best course of treatment.

Ms McKeogh said she was referred for a laparoscopy after she had endured a number of miscarriages. It had been discovered that she had a hydrosalpinx (a collection of fluid) in her right tube.

She was told the tube might have to be clipped to allow her to bring an embryo to full term.

She first met Dr Egan just before going under anaesthetic in the operating theatre in University College Hospital Galway on June 2, 2010.

When she awoke, Dr Egan told her that it "wasn't just the right (fallopian) tube" and that he had clipped both tubes.

"When I asked why, he asked me did I want to continue miscarrying," Ms McKeogh said.

"He said to me, 'What did you want me to do, stitch it back up, wake you up and ask for your permission?'

"He said to me he was the doctor and he made the correct decision for me.

"To sterilise a 32-year-old girl without her consent, with my husband only 10 feet away - I would like to think my husband would have been consulted.

"I will never forget, the bedside manner was horrendous."

Under examination from JP McDowell, who is taking the case against Dr Egan on behalf of the CEO of the Medical Council, Ms McKeogh said she wanted to be given the chance to decide about the procedure.

"We could have got an investigation done. I might have agreed then, but it's different when you go in for surgery," she said.

"We put all our hopes and dreams knowing we would have two months' recovery and then (try to) start a family. We weren't in a position financially to go for IVF."

Ms McKeogh said Dr Egan told her he would be in touch at a later date with a view to getting her pregnant by IVF.

Literature from his private fertility clinic was sent to her two days after her father died.

"I was so mad after what had happened - it wasn't even a free invitation, it was €150 to be advised about IVF," said Ms Keogh. "I couldn't believe I was made infertile."


Dr Egan's barrister, Eileen Barrington, said her client denies the allegation against him and says the clipping was necessary because of the presence of a hydrosalpinx in both fallopian tubes.

In a letter to Ms McKeogh's solicitor which was read out to the inquiry, Dr Egan stated that had he not clipped the right tube his patient would have needed a third laparoscopy, which has a high mortality and morbidity rate.

"I hope that Ms McKeogh can appreciate that I clipped her tubes in good faith," he said.

The hearing continues.