Irish women who had pelvises broken during childbirth seek $586K in damages

Women who underwent symphysiotomies stand with members of Ireland's government outside the Dail

Irish women who were forced to undergo symphysiotomies, where their pelvises were unnecessarily broken during childbirth, are seeking damages of up to $586,000 (€450,000) from the Government.

The Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SOS) group has called on the Government to pass legislation before the summer which will allow affected women to seek legal redress.  The representative group has proposed compensation ranging from $326,000 (€250,000) to $587,000 (€450,000) for women most affected by the procedure.

In April Minister for Health James Reilly has told the Dáil that the Government will not oppose a cross-party Private Members’ Bill on symphysiotomy.

SOS estimates that 1,500 Irish women unknowingly and without consent underwent symphysiotomies during childbirth between 1944-1992. The procedure was carried out on mothers before or after childbirth which increased the size of the pelvic area to allow for the easier delivery of a baby. Many of the women who underwent the procedure suffer from incontinence, prolapsed organs, walking difficulties and chronic aches.

The Irish Times
reports the Department of Health has received and considered a final report on symphysiotomy by Prof Oonagh Walsh and would shortly make a recommendation to Dr Reilly on foot of it.

The Minister is expected to bring a recommendation based on the findings to Cabinet “in the next number of weeks”.