74-year-old woman loses symphysiotomy case against the Irish State

74-year-old woman loses symphysiotomy case against the Irish State

A 74-YEAR-OLD woman has lost her case against the Irish State regarding the brutal symphysiotomy procedure which was performed on her in 1963.

Yesterday High Court judge Mr Justice Kevin Cross ruled that the procedure, which was carried out at a Dublin hospital just 12 days before the woman gave birth, could not be deemed “unjustified”.

While he described the woman as “a remarkable lady”, acknowledging the life-long pain she has endured since the pelvic bone-breaking childbirth procedure was performed, he claimed he could not uphold her case.

The Survivors of Symphysiotomy and Irish Council for Civil Liberties groups have both expressed their “grave disappointment” at the ruling in Dublin.

“Over four weeks the State Claims Agency has fought a 74-year-old plaintiff tooth and nail in an attempt to justify the breaking of her pelvis 12 days before the birth of her baby,” said Survivors of Symphysiotomy’s Marie O’Connor.

“Unfortunately, at least at this stage in the proceedings, they have prevailed, although the judgment will be carefully considered by the plaintiff’s legal advisors who, with her, will decide on the next steps,” she added.

Mark Kelly, Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, added: “The outcome of these proceedings is devastating for the woman at the centre of this case, but it is also symptomatic of the ongoing absence of effective remedies for women who have been subjected to this barbaric practice.”

He added: “The onus remains on the State to ensure that, in all cases in which women allege that they have been subjected to degrading treatment of this nature, an effective investigation takes place and a remedy is provided”.