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Draft symphysiotomy report due this week

A report on the carrying out of symphysiotomies on Irish women is due in two days’ time. The government has said it is “committed to dealing with the women sensitively”.

Image: Old Hospital via Shutterstock

A DRAFT GOVERNMENT report on the carrying out of symphysiotomies on women in Ireland is due to be published this week.

The Irish Times said today that the report states that the laws of the Catholic Church influenced the use of syphysiotomies in Ireland.

The full details of the report, which is due to be released on Thursday, have so far been released to the women concerned.

The Government-commissioned draft looks into the use of the procedure, which unhinged and widened the pelvis for childbirth and led to women reporting they had suffered health problems as a result.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said:

The Minister and the Department are conscious of the distress that symphysiotomy has caused to a number of women and recognise the pain that this issue has caused to those affected by it. The Government is committed to dealing with the women concerned sensitively and the first priority is to make sure that the health needs of those who have had a symphysiotomy are met quickly and effectively.

They added that details of how to access a copy of the report will be on the Department’s website on Thursday.

The draft report has already been circulated to let the women concerned have first sight of it before it is made public.

The spokesperson added that “it is important to note the publication of this report is only the first phase in the process”.

The second phase of the research is a consultation process. During the consultation period, feedback is being sought from all relevant stakeholders with experience of the procedure.

A number of women from the Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SOS) group were in Leinster House on 15 March for a Dáil debate on the procedure.

Many of the women who underwent a symphysiotomy, which widened a woman’s pelvis during labour, were left with life-long chronic pain and other medical issues.

The group want to see the statute bar lifted so that they can seek redress through the courts for damage caused to them.

An independent researcher who submitted a draft report on the procedure in January 2012 said that she had experienced some difficulties in accessing historical data.

Read: Dáil hears calls for justice for survivors of symphysiotomy>

Read: Dáil to debate symphysiotomy tomorrow>

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