Government approves compensation for Neary victims
Around 35 women had been excluded from original redress scheme on age grounds
A plan to compensate former patients of Dr Michael Neary who underwent unnecessary hysterectomies and who were excluded from the Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme on age grounds has been approved by Government. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill /The Irish Times
A plan to compensate former patients of Dr Michael Neary who underwent unnecessary hysterectomies and who were excluded from the Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme on age grounds has been approved by Government.
The redress scheme was established following the findings and recommendations contained in the 2006 report of an inquiry into the high number of hysterectomies carried out at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
Around 35 women damaged by former obstetrician Michael Neary were excluded from the scheme however. Some of the reasons for their exclusion included – in some cases – their age when the operations were performed.
Minister for Health James Reilly said he had received Government approval to establish a scheme to compensate these women.
Under the new scheme, ex-gratia awards of between € 60,000 and € 100,000 will be provided to the 35 patients.
“I am conscious of the distress that has been caused to these women and recognise the pain suffered – firstly, by virtue of the unnecessary operation and secondly, through their exclusion from the original scheme,” said Dr Reilly.
He added he would direct the State Claims Agency to establish the scheme “as quickly as possible” so the “sad chapter” for the women affected and Irish society would be brought to a close.
Separately, Dr Reilly said the Government had requested “some further details” from the women affected by the symphysiotomy scandal in advance of making a final decision on a redress scheme.
He said there were plans for himself and Minister of State Kathleen Lynch to meet with the women affected in the coming days.
The Survivors of Symphysiotomy – a group representing women who had their pelvises unnecessarily broken during childbirth – has called on the Government to pass legislation before the summer recess allowing the women affected to seek legal redress.
The group has proposed damages ranging from € 250,000 for victims at the lower end of injuries up to € 450,000 for women who were most grievously injured.
The procedure was carried out in Ireland primarily from around the late 1940s to the mid 1960s and was gradually replaced by caesarean section as the preferred method of delivery in childbirth where required.
Evidence however shows the procedure was carried out in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda until 1984. It is estimated that around 1500 women had a symphysiotomy – of whom some 150-224 are still alive.
Dr Reilly added he received the independent report of Prof Oonagh Walsh into the scandal on May 31st and has been “considering it closely” since then.