Tag Archives: records


Golden Discs, in Dundrum

Every Friday, we give away a newly-minted, freshly-pressed voucher for TWENTY-FIVE euro to spend with aplomb and abandon at the Golden Discs location of YOUR choice. Any of fourteen of them, nationwide.

All we ask from you is a tune we can play at an UNSPECIFIED time.

This week’s theme: Irish women singers.

What female Irish voice tickles your ear buds and breaks your booze-soaked heart?

To enter, please complete the following sentence:

“The best Irish female voice by some distance is ________________________ particularly when performing____________________________”

Lines must close at 5.45pm MIDNIGHT.

Golden Discs


Women who had symphysiotomies and their supporters outside the Department of An Taoiseach in 2014

Further to the publication of Justice Maureen Harding Clark’s report on the symphysiotomy redress scheme last week…

And some of the subsequent reporting of the same…

Sinead Redmond, of the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) writes:

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) Ireland is outraged at the suggestion that the survivors of symphysiotomy have exaggerated, or been in some way dishonest, in their claims in what has been a long and difficult struggle for them, in the pursuit of justice.

We, at AIMS Ireland, know that women are very slow to expose themselves to legal proceedings, especially when they have been traumatised in the past. The fact of the matter here is that medical records are missing.

We are very disappointed that Judge Maureen Harding-Clark has made completely unfounded accusations of dishonesty against elderly women and their supporters, based on a lack of documentation and records. At the same time, she fails to hold the hospitals and medics responsible for not keeping that documentation, as is their responsibility.

The claim that a woman’s medical record could prove or disprove that a procedure had taken place is laughable. Medical record keeping of the time was minimal, to say the least. Many women’s medical records for a birth consist of a few lines, hardly comprehensive proof.

All medical records prove is that a midwife or obstetrician wrote something once upon a time on a chart. Whether this is an accurate reflection of events is another story entirely. It is not uncommon to see issues with medical record keeping to this day.

Further, AIMS Ireland is at a loss to understand why, in an era where women not only had no access to abortion, but also had no access to contraception as well as no legal right to not be raped within marriage, women who had further pregnancies after symphysiotomy are deemed by the judge to not have been traumatised by the symphysiotomy.

Women of the time had no say over whether they became pregnant or not regardless of their state of health and wellbeing, and as of course is still the case, they had no say over whether they remained pregnant or not. Becoming pregnant was not something a woman had any say whatsoever in.

This report is a further violation of those women, who are and were entitled, in their latter years, to expect more of a state that claims, with little evidence, to be more enlightened.

Women who have experienced mistreatment know that it has happened. They are neither hysterical nor litigious as suggested by those who should know better. It is beyond belief, that those practicing medicine in today’s world, would turn to the ancient argument of the hysterical woman.

The biggest issue for AIMS Ireland today, is the establishment’s complete failure to hold a mirror to its practices both past and present. It demonstrates to women today how little value is placed in their well-being.

It further illustrates that ‘the professionals’ in this country have rights over women’s bodies which would not be given in other jurisdictions.

In media commentary this week, the point has been made that symphysiotomy is still used in poorer countries where alternatives are lacking. The key point here is “where alternatives are lacking”. This was not the case in Irish hospitals in 1965, with access to trained surgeons, surgical theatres and antibiotics.

There is no valid reason for the fact that though symphysiotomy was dropped and even banned as a procedure in other Western countries, it continued to be used in Ireland as late as the 1980’s, no matter how frequent its use was.

Points have also been made regarding the life-saving potential of symphysiotomy in specific situations. No one is questioning that.

We are questioning the medical need to perform these procedures in Irish hospitals in the years in question, when evidence showed a caesarean section was a viable alternative.

We at AIMS Ireland find it appalling that women’s experiences, trauma and injuries at the hands of what was a highly patriarchal and religious-led maternity care system, could be so lightly dismissed, and their suffering labelled as in some way “normal”.

Women should not be suffering either emotionally or physically after childbirth in Ireland.

AIMS Ireland statement on the publication of Judge Maureen Harding-Clark’s report into the surgical symphysiotomy ex-gratia payment scheme and media commentary on the same (AIMS Ireland) 



Previously: ‘Confabulation, False Memories And Conspiracy Theories)

Related: Medical Council ‘carefully considers’ symphysiotomy report (Paul Cullen, Irish Times)

Symphysiotomy group calls for claims in redress report to be withdrawn (Gráinne Ní Aodha, The Journal)


From the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme website

Further to the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme saying it is “happy to shred” the records of women who had symphysiotomies…

Paul Cullen, in the Irish Times, reports:

The scheme, which has accepted 578 applications and made 400 offers of compensation, is due to finish soon, but Judge Harding Clark has denied saying documents would be shredded after March 20th, as has been claimed.

She said applicants had been asked to state by this date whether they wished their documents to be returned or confidentially shredded.

“When the scheme has completed its work, it will return or confidentially shred documentation furnished to the scheme by applicants strictly in accordance with the wishes of the applicants,” she said in a statement posted on its website.

…It [Department of Health] said applicants had been written to and asked whether they wanted their documents back or would like to have them shredded. About 360 women had replied, with 70 per cent opting for return and 30 per cent for shredding. It is unclear at this stage what will happen in the cases of women from whom no reply has been received.


Symphysiotomy records to be shredded ‘with consent’ (Irish Times)

Previously: ‘Any Applicant’s Mind Can Be Put At Rest’

‘Happy To Shred’

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Survivors and supporters of Survivors of Symphysiotomy at a protest outside the Dáil in September 2014

You may recall how around 730 women, who’ve had a symphysiotomy and applied to the redress scheme, have until Sunday (March 20) to notify the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme if they’d like to have their records returned to them.

Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

On Wednesday FP Logue Solicitors wrote to the Data Protection Commissioner, stating the destruction of records – either against some women’s wishes or without their consent – “would be a grave violation of their fundamental rights under European Union and international human rights law.”

This morning, the Irish Examiner reports that Marie O’Connor, of Survivors of Symphysiotomy, is calling on Health Minister Leo Varadkar to stop the plan from going ahead.

It reports:

In a statement, the Department of Health said: “Any potential destruction of documents submitted to the scheme, in line with Section 46 of the Terms of the Scheme, would be undertaken solely to ensure the confidentiality of Applicants.

“It is important to note that only copy medical records have ever been received by the scheme, the originals of which remain with hospitals or possibly with a solicitor if providing assistance to an applicant.

“In the circumstances, any applicant’s mind can be put at rest that her medical records cannot be lost by any action of the scheme.”

Symphysiotomy survivors ask Varadkar to halt destruction of their records (Irish Examiner)

Previously: ‘Happy To Shred’

Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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Members and supporters of the group Survivors of Symphysiotomy at an EGM in September 2014 with Rita Doyle, in the front row dressed in purple

Marie O’Connor, Chairperson of Survivors of Symphysiotomy, writes:

“We are appealing to the Master of the Rotunda Hospital to authorise the immediate release of obstetric records belonging to one of our members. The National Archives confirmed to a national newspaper in mid-December that they hold these records. They will release these records as soon as the Rotunda Hospital consents.”

“It is inexcusable that, three weeks after their identification, the hospital’s consent is still not forthcoming. While the hospital has cited staff shortages as a reason for not dealing with this in a timely manner, this is not a reason that can be applied here. The National Archives have been most helpful. All the usual demands, including a written request to be accompanied by photo identification, were met three weeks ago by our member.”

Ms [Rita] Doyle is one of a number of women deeply affected by the belated ‘discovery’ of thousands of maternity care records, some of which detail the performance of symphysiotomies and puybiotomies in three different hospitals. Documents relating to the Rotunda Hospital, such as theatre and birth registers, are held in the National Archives.’

“The Department of Health has failed to explain why these records were not disclosed in response to queries from our members. All the evidence points to a systemic cover-up. We must now ask whether the authorities intend to hold onto these vital records until after the final closing date for the Government’s scheme for survivors of symphysiotomy has passed.”

“Dáil questions asked by TDs at our request forced the disclosure of these records. There seems to have been an overarching intention on the part of the authorities to withhold them, even at the cost of breaching Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation.’

“We appeal to Dr Coulter-Smith to consent to the release these records. Ms Doyle has waited for 53 years for the certain knowledge these records will bring: while it may not be be unlawful to force her to wait for another month, such an action would be inhumane as well as needless.”

Survivors of symphysiotomy appeal to the Rotunda Hospital for the release of key birth records (Survivors of Symphysiotomy)

Related: ‘They butchered me… now I will find the proof’ (Irish Independent)

Previously: ‘Many Women Had This Operation Wide Awake’

Thanks Marie

Pic: SOS (Facebook)