10th April 2002
Drogheda Hospital scandal - Minister should establish public inquiry
The Minister for Health and Children Mícheál Martin should establish a full public inquiry into how dozens of unnecessary caesarean hysterectomies were carried out by consultants at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, according to Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. He also called for a scheme of compensation for the women whom he described as ``victims of a form of medical butchery''.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
``The women victims of this scandal, some of them teenagers at the time of their operations, have been through dreadful experiences. Without their knowledge or consent, they had their wombs removed unnecessarily and were prevented from having more children. I attended a Patient Focus forum in Drogheda recently and heard their stories first hand. What I was told there ranks amongst the most horrific examples of medical malpractice that I know of. These women are victims of a form of medical butchery.
``It is disgraceful that the secret inquiry by the Medical Council into the conduct of a consultant at the centre of this issue has taken so long to complete. These women are still awaiting a result. Confirmation that files in a number of the cases are missing makes a public inquiry more urgent than ever.
``I met the Minister for Health and Children Mícheál Martin on this issue on two occasions, including with members of Patient Focus, and I repeat now the call made then. There must be a full public inquiry and there must be a scheme of compensation for the women. We must know how such practices were allowed to continue for so long in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
``On my proposal the North Eastern Health Board, at its February meeting called upon the Medical Council to expedite its inquiry, recommended an appropriate process of compensation, and requested the Minister for Health and Children to establish a full public inquiry into the delivery of Maternity Services at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. This should now be announced by the Minister without delay.''
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