Patients of former obstetrician Michael Neary who had their ovaries removed unnecessarily can apply to be considered under a new redress scheme from today.
The scheme is for women excluded from the original Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme on age grounds.
It follows a six-year campaign by the Patient Focus advocacy group on behalf of around 35 women who had both ovaries or a single functioning ovary removed when they were aged 40 or over.
A commitment to resolve the issue was included in the Coalition’s Programme for Government published in March 2011.
Neary was struck off the medical register 10 years ago for carrying out an excessive number of hysterectomies at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth.
Two midwives at the hospital’s maternity unit had raised concerns about the former doctor.
Patient Focus said it had been 15 years since the bizarre practices of Neary were exposed. Patient advocate Brigid Doherty said it had taken a lot of pressure by the group to include the women excluded from the 2007 scheme.
“We still do not know why it has taken so long to have the women included in a redress scheme,” she said yesterday.
Ms Doherty said the group received a number of calls from women yesterday asking for guidance about submitting applications to the payment scheme.
An advertisement about the Lourdes Hospital Payment Scheme was carried in newspapers yesterday.
It is understood that successful applicants will be given awards of between €60,000 and €100,000.
Patient Focus co-ordinator Sheila O’Connor said that, at this stage, they were just very relieved and really pleased that a new scheme was introduced.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio, Ms O’Connor said she did not think the overall number of women affected would be much greater than the 35 women represented by Patient Focus.
“The effect on their lives has been devastating,” she said.
“They were young women at age 40 and 42 and were immediately catapulted into the menopause and, obviously, they could have no more children either.”
Ms O’Connor said some of the women had no children.
“It has just been dreadful and it was sort of compounded by their exclusion from the original scheme.”
She did not know why the women were excluded on the ground of age, but it seemed very bizarre and most unjust.
Health Minister James Reilly said he hoped the new payment scheme would help bring closure for the women involved and praised Patient Focus for working tirelessly on their behalf.
“The consequences these women suffered as a result of being patients of Dr Neary were appalling and insult was added to injury by their exclusion from the redress scheme,” he said.
The newspaper advertisement on the new payment scheme stresses that no application received after 5pm on Jan 14, 2014, will be accepted or considered.
* Patient Focus contact numbers: 01 8851633 and 01 8851611
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