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Thread: No inquiry into symphysiotomy, says Harney

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    Thumbs down No inquiry into symphysiotomy, says Harney

    The Health Minister said today that the Government will not be carrying out an inquiry into the practice of symphysiotomy.

    The medical procedure involves the breaking of a woman's pelvis during pregnancy or childbirth, and was carried out on some 1,500 Irish women between the 1950s and 1980s.

    Earlier today, the group Survivors of Symphysiotomy called on the Minister to carry out an inquiry.


    Read more: No inquiry into symphysiotomy, says Harney | BreakingNews.ie


    The Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SOS) group today called for Health Minister Mary Harney to be sacked if she does not order an independent review of a controversial surgical procedure which left hundreds of women disabled.

    Symphysiotomies were widely carried out in maternity units in Ireland between the early 1940s and the early 1980s. The procedure involves permanently widening the pelvis by surgically dividing the symphysis pubis, where the pubic bones come together.

    The calls come following a Prime Time special on RTE last night which revealed that symphysiotomies were widespread here between 1944 and 1983. The programme also revealed that Ireland was the only country in the developed world where the procedure was widely practised in the 20th century.

    At a press conference today organised by SOS, symphysiotomy was described as a "brutal and cruel treatment from the darkest ages", and the practice was described as "institutionalised abuse of women."

    It is estimated it may have been carried out on around 1,500 women.

    Around 111 women who were victims of symphysiotomy have come forward to date, and there are expected to be many more women suffering for years from the serious side effects of the procedure, which include extreme pain, incontinence and depression. Around 1,500 women are estimated to have had the procedure.

    The SOS group claims the procedure was carried out in Ireland when it had long ceased in other countries. It is reported that it ceased in Holles Street Hospital in the mid-1960s, although there have been claims that it continued there until the early 1970s.

    Symphysiotomies continued in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda until 1983.

    It is believed that the procedure was encouraged by Catholic obstetricians as a birth-facilitating alternative to caesarean section, as it was believed that women facing repeated caesareans for future births might be tempted to use contraception.

    'Harney should go on barbaric op issue'

    Here we go.....Hareny won't allow an inquiry.

    As a Minister for Health, I find mary harney, unbelievable. I wonder, at times, does she really know the meaning of the word 'health'.....it involves, care, compassion, healing, empathy......but all harney can say to these women, who were brutalised, is 'NO'.
    The hurt of one is the hurt of all, the honour of one is the honour of all.

    Native American Indian Traditional Code of Ethics

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    Inquiry Now

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    Quote Originally Posted by inherit the deficit View Post
    Inquiry Now
    You said it!!!!!!
    The hurt of one is the hurt of all, the honour of one is the honour of all.

    Native American Indian Traditional Code of Ethics

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    is Harney a woman or what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by toasteroven View Post
    is Harney a woman or what?
    Wouldn't you wonder!!!!!
    The hurt of one is the hurt of all, the honour of one is the honour of all.

    Native American Indian Traditional Code of Ethics

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    Im inclined to agree with an Inquiry but does noone think it is somewhat unusual that both Dr Peter Boylan, former Master of Holles St, and Dr John Bonnar, Former RCOG chair, have defended the procedure pre-1980s?

    And before people start 'doing a Neary', both are highly and widely respected obstetricians.

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    Politics.ie Member GabhaDubh's Avatar
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    Newsy; After reading your posting, I am seating here at my computer, shaking my head. What sort of country did we grow up in. Have we been just generations of lambs, subservient in all regards.

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    Here's a link to a 2002 study by a Swedish doctor
    Minimally invasive surgery for obstructed labour: ... [BJOG. 2002] - PubMed result
    A quote from the abstract:
    "Symphysiotomy compares favourably with caesarean section in terms of risk for the mother's life. CONCLUSION: If valid conclusions can be drawn from one hundred years of retrospective studies, there is considerable evidence to support a reinstatement of symphysiotomy in the obstetric arsenal, for the benefit of women in obstructed labour and their offspring."

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    Quote Originally Posted by GabhaDubh View Post
    Newsy; After reading your posting, I am seating here at my computer, shaking my head. What sort of country did we grow up in. Have we been just generations of lambs, subservient in all regards.
    GabhaDubh, it would appear so. As a country, we have so much to come to terms with, so much to heal from, so much to unearth to help that healing and unfortunately, at times fight for healing, eventual healing to take place....healing of the soul/spirit.

    I never knew there was such a practice, till yesterday......it shocked me. I made a vow last night, that if it wasn't here tonight, I would post on it. It is the only thing I can do to help these women.

    The only thing that gives me hope, is that 'secrets' are coming out....the Murphy Report, the Ryan Report and the unspeakable torture and sexual abuse. Now these women are pushing for an inquiry and that is good. As a country, we are growing up, as difficult as that is.
    The hurt of one is the hurt of all, the honour of one is the honour of all.

    Native American Indian Traditional Code of Ethics

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    Politics.ie Member Sync's Avatar
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    Can anyone argue with Harney's point?

    The minister said reviews are carried out to improve care for patients and as symphysiotomy was superseded by Caesarean section in the 1980s, any review would not now be productive.
    She's the health minister. What benefit will the area of her responsibility gain from an inquiry into a practice that finished in most cases 50 years ago and in one hospital 27 years ago?

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