An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Tuesday, August 05, 2003  

More on Michael Neary

I remember clearly the case which O'Toole mentions below. Further, I've been reading about Michael Neary for years but nothing was done about him until one brave woman took him to the High Court and they found against him. The Medical Council didn't bar him, until AFTER the court case even tho' they had all the facts and files (except for the 30 which went 'missing') for the past 4 years.

I firmly believe that a case like this, where the consultant was unnecessarily removing the wombs of women, could only happen in the case of obstetrics and I am also convinced that procedures and operations of a lesser but no less unnecessary nature are still taking place on a regular occurrence today.

Every single day women in maternity hospitals are subjected to painful procedures, the most common being the episiotomy, not to mention the high rate of caesarians, and are sent home with major wounds and complications. Before they even get a chance to query these operations they are being told that they should be grateful to the doctors who perform them. Most often they are informed that the doctor just saved their baby's life, which in most cases simply isn't true, or if it is, the emergency arose because a series of other unnecessary interventions intefered with the labour to the extent that the complication could only be managed in an aggressive surgical manner. Its only in this kind of culture that a doctor could perform the hysterectomies and get away with it. In no other area of medicine could this take place.

The women's own instincts are dismissed and the doctors are revered. In the Neary case, he was operating away for 20 years and when the nuns handed the hospital over to the State they demanded a written agreement that no sterilisations would be performed - while under their noses he was sterilising women and claiming credit for it!

Talk to any woman who has had birth in a maternity hospital with an active labour management system and you'll hear her casually discuss the extensive list of 'complications' which arose which meant that the doctor 'had to' perform some procedure or other. The blissful ignorance and subsequent defensiveness they assume if challenged is to my mind, quite extraordinary. Would any man allow himself to be unnecessarily cut? No way! And yet women who refuse to educate themselves and write out cheques to private consultants whom they revere are the very ones who maintain the God culture of the obstetrician. Because they have placed so much faith and so much money in them, and because they can't bring themselves to admit that maybe the year they spent after birth fighting infections and enduring painful sex due to their episiotomy was utterly pointless, they attack anyone who questions the medicalisation of childbirth. Isn't it incredible that the victims of the day to day butchery that goes on are the champions of the butchers themselves?

This point is most vividly illustrated by the fact that when the Neary was first suspended, thousands of women in Drogheda actually marched in his defence!! Denial, as they say, is most certainly not just a river in Egypt.

posted by Sarah | 11:51 0 comments
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