July 11,2013 16:50

Limited to the sad history


THE MINISTER FOR Health is to bring a set of proposals to government next week on a redress scheme for 35 women harmed by infamous doctor Michael Neary.

The victims were excluded from a previous compensation programme, Asian college of knowledge management the Lourdes Hospital scheme, on various technicalities.

Support group Patient Focus has welcomed the move. In a statement, it said:

The women have suffered a great deal and we look forward greatly to next week when the matter will  finally be confined to sad history.

The women have been campaigning for a number of years to be compensated for the injuries inflicted upon them by Neary. They were left out of the Lourdes Hospital scheme, which saw about 200 patients granted in excess of €20 million, following Judge Maureen Harding Clark’s 2004 deliberations. That system referred only to two narrow groups, one of which excluded all women over the age of 40.

One survivor was 40 years and three days old when her womb and ovaries were removed unnecessarily so she did not receive any payment.

A commitment to resolve the issue was included in the coalition’s Programme for Government.

Horror stories

Neary was struck off the Medical Register in September 2003 following a lengthy hearing before the Medical Council. A series of investigations and inquires into his practices had started years earlier.

The probes revealed that Neary performed negligent, Set up Business in Hong Kong damaging and unnecessary gynaecological procedures on a number women at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

The issue only came to light after two midwives working at the Maternity Unit raised concerns that the surgeon was carrying out an unusual number of caesarean hysterectomies. They also felt that some of his clinical practices were “out of date”.

The Lourdes Hospital Inquiry was established by the Government in 2004 after which a large number of women were compensated. It found that since Neary began his work as an obstetrician in the hospital, the rate of casesarian hysterectomies was extremely high.

Altogether he performed 129 such procedures which involve removing the woman’s womb shortly after she has given birth. The average for the majority of obstetricians’ career is about five, storage cabinet an RTÉ documentary revealed after investigating the case.

Women have been compensated through both the redress scheme and through civil actions when the Statue of Limitations of two or three years allowed.

The amounts varied from €80,000 to €300,000, depending on severity of situation, damage and number of children.

The scheme established after the 2004 report has been described as “fair” and something the victims were “content” with. The only problem was the exclusions.

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