Lorna McKeogh had agreed to the clipping of one tube but, after the operation, was told by consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Declan Egan: “What did you want me to do, stitch it back up, wake you up, and ask for your permission?”
Dr Egan, of Dangan, Co Galway, faces one allegation of poor professional performance at a Medical Council fitness-to-practice inquiry in relation to the procedure he carried out on Ms McKeogh on June 2, 2010, at University College Hospital Galway.
He denies the allegation and his barrister said Dr Egan believed this was the best course of treatment for Ms McKeogh.
Ms McKeogh told the inquiry she was referred for a laproscopy after she had a number of miscarriages. It was found that she had a hydrosalpinx (a collection of fluid) of her right fallopian tube. Since this was toxic to the embryo, Ms McKeogh was told the tube may have to be clipped to allow her to bear an embryo to full term.
She said she was referred to Dr Egan because her own obstetrician could not carry out the procedure because of her hospital’s Catholic ethos.
She said she met Dr Egan just before going under anaesthetic.
When she awoke, Dr Egan told her that it “wasn’t just the right tube” and that he had clipped both tubes.
Ms McKeogh said: “When I asked why, he asked me did I want to continue miscarrying? He said to me: ‘What did you want me to do, stitch it back up, wake you up and ask for your permission?’ He said to me he was the doctor and he made the correct decision for me.”
Under cross-examination from JP McDowell, who is taking the case against Dr Egan on behalf of the CEO of the Medical Council, Ms McKeogh said she had wanted to decide about the procedure herself.
“We could have got an investigation done, more evidence to see what he thought he saw,” she said. “I might have agreed then, but it’s different when you go in for surgery. We put all our hopes and dreams knowing we would have two months recovery, then start a family. We weren’t in a position financially to go for IVF.”
Ms McKeogh said Dr Egan told her he would be in touch at a later date with a view to getting her pregnant by IVF. Literature from his private fertility clinic was sent to her home that same month.
Eileen Barrington, barrister for Dr Egan, said her client denies the allegation against him and that the clipping was necessary because of the presence of a hydrosalpinx in both fallopian tubes.
Dr Egan said that, had he not clipped the right tube, his patient would have needed a third laparoscopy, which has a high mortality and morbidity rate, and that she would have had to wait over a year to be operated on again.
Ms McKeogh told how, after the clipping of her tubes, she and her husband embarked on expensive IVF treatment for which they had to borrow money.
As part of her IVF treatment in 2014, she was booked in for a procedure but was told there was nothing wrong with her fallopian tube.
In May 2014, she was admitted to hospital for five days for a procedure to reverse the clipping of her left fallopian tube. This was successful and she was told she could start trying for a baby in six to 10 weeks.