18 Nov

What is Symphysiotomy – A Debate in Ireland

Not for viewing by the young

Symphysiotomy – A Brutal Practice. It is estimated that 1,500 Irish women unknowingly and without consent underwent symphysiotomies during childbirth between 1944—1992. The practice was used by Catholic anti-birth-control doctors, in “Catholic hospitals” in Ireland during this time. Some survivors were left with severe lifelong after effects, including extreme pain, impaired mobility, incontinence, and depression.Then-Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, ruled out a review on 19 February 2010.
The most common indications are a trapped head of a breech baby, shoulder dystocia which does not resolve with routine manoeuvres and obstructed labor at full cervical dilation when there is no option of a caesarean section. Currently the procedure is rarely performed in developed countries, but is still routine in developing countries where caesarean section is not always an option.
The procedure is not without risk, including urethral and bladder injury, infection, pain and long-term walking difficulty. Symphysiotomy should, therefore, be carried out only when there is no safe alternative. It is advised that this procedure should not be repeated due to the risk of gait problems and continual pain. It was the dismissive, & arrogant attitude of the Catholic priest on this programme that really pissed me off, but Vincent Brown – the presenter gave him a good grilling. Hope you find this interesting, & thank you for watching.


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