Womb removal described as 'doomsday remedy'

 

An obstetrician-gynaecologist took a "doomsday remedy" when he decided to remove the womb of a 27-year-old woman shortly after she gave birth to her first and only child at a Co Louth hospital, the High Court was told yesterday.

Mn James Nugent SC was making closing submissions on behalf of Mrs Alison Gough (37), of Market House Lane, Ardee, Co Louth, in her action for damages against Dr Michael Neary, of Fair Street, Drogheda, and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. Mr Justice Johnson reserved judgment.

Mrs Gough told an earlier hearing she was devastated when informed by Dr Neary that he had removed her womb following a Caesarean operation at the birth of her only child in October 1992.

A medical witness, called for Mrs Gough, also told the court it was extremely rare that a woman having her first baby should have Caesarean and hysterectomy operations.

In his evidence, Dr Neary said that after the delivery of Mrs Gough's son, excessive bleeding had started from the uterus, which was more than one would expect in normal caesarean sections.

Attempts to contract the uterus did not work, he said, and it had greatly distressed him to have to remove Mrs Gough's womb.

Yesterday, Mr Nugent said Mrs Gough was supported in her claim by two of the country's most distinguished obstetrician-gynaecologists - one from the Rotunda Hospital and the other from the National Maternity Hospital. Counsel said Dr Neary had been unable to produce any such expert.

Mr Charles Meenan SC, for Dr Neary, said the evidence showed his client had used all the appropriate "conservative measures" to deal with Mrs Gough's bleeding before carrying out the hysterectomy.

The height of the evidence adduced by Mrs Gough's experts was that the decision to proceed to a hysterectomy was "over-rapid" or that an extra hour should have been given before Dr Neary carried out the operation.

Neither of Mrs Gough's medical experts gave evidence that, as a matter of probability, the hysterectomy would, as a matter of probability, been avoided had such extra time been given.

Mr Meenan said Dr Neary's evidence as to the methods used to measure Mrs Gough's blood loss had not been challenged and the court should therefore accept his evidence.