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IHCA defends stance in Neary case
[Posted: Thu 04/09/2008 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has stressed that it has already apologised regarding its role in the Michael Neary case.
The Association, at a press conference yesterday, was asked about its role in the initial review which exonerated Dr Neary, in the wake of the broadcast earlier this week of a TV dramatisation about the scandal.
IHCA President Dr Paul Oslizlok told a press conference yesterday: ''as doctors, as husbands and as human beings we have to be appalled by what happened (to the women the Neary case)."
However, IHCA Secretary General Finbarr Fitzpatrick stressed that the Association had already apologised in respect of the Neary scandal.
In 1998, Mr Fitzpatrick, on behalf of Dr Neary, who was an IHCA member and had sought representation, arranged for three prominent obstetricians to review Dr Neary's work after concerns had been expressed about the obstetrician's high caesarean hysterectomy rate and he had been placed on temporary administrative leave by his hospital.
The consultants at the time effectively exonerated Dr Neary on the basis of the cases they reviewed.
Their report opposed the suspension of Dr Neary pending a review by the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on the basis that Dr Neary would not perform any further caesarean hysterectomies without the agreement of another doctor.
While Dr Neary did comply with this recommendation, he was subsequently permanently suspended from his hospital post and struck off the medical register for having previously carried out a large number of unnecessary caesarean hysterectomies.
Dr Neary performed 129 out of a total of 188 peripartum hysteretcomies at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda between 1974 and 1998, when most obstetricians would carry out less than 10 in their whole career.
The doctors who carried out the initial review said they did so under severe time constraints and their report was of a preliminary nature pending a fuller investigation by the obstetrics institute.
In early 2007,the Medical Council found the three doctors guilty of professional misconduct but did not impose sanctions. This verdict, however, has since been rescinded in respect of the three doctors.
The High Court overturned the Council's verdict in respect of two of the three doctors who legally challenged the Council's decision; Drs John Murphy and Walter Prendiville.
The Court was highly critical of the way the Council had reached its misconduct verdict in respect of the two doctors.
It stressed, among other things, the failure of the Council to inform the doctors of the basis for the misconduct finding.
The Court also said the Council was applying ethical standards of conduct drawn up in 2004 in respect of a review carried out six years previously.
The Medical Council decided not to appeal the High Court decision on the two doctors. Subsequently, it also set aside the professional misconduct decision against the third doctor involved in the Neary review, Bernard Stuart.
One of the three doctors who carried out the review, John Murphy, stepped down last year from his post as President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
He also apologised to the Patient Focus support group for any distress that the organisation, which campaigned for women harmed by Michael Neary, may have suffered as a result of the compilation of his review.
Patient Focus has been highly critical of the IHCA's role in the initial review and has also criticised the High Court verdict overturning the Council's decision on two of the doctors who carried out the review.
Asked yesterday about the IHCA's actions in the Neary case in 1998, Mr Fitzpatrick said at the time, based on what was known then, what the Association did was felt to be appropriate.
He said the Association's actions at the time were in line with what any representative body would have done in terms of a member asking for assistance.
Asked if he would apologise now regarding the Neary controversy, Mr Fitzpatrick said a number of IHCA Presidents had already issued apologies.
Dr Oslizlok said lessons had been learned from the Neary case. He agreed the recommendations in the Judge Clarke inquiry report need to continue to be put in place.
However, he felt there had, since the Neary case, been a change in attitude by doctors and hospitals and there was now much more transparency and openness.
There had been a significant culture change and he felt this was much more important than any recommendations that might be written down.
|lisann Posted: 04/09/2008 14:18|
|after all these years and brickwalls, its a bit late in the day for to IHCA . its just pouring salt in the wounds for the women for the IHCA for their cover-ups|
|Louise Posted: 04/09/2008 16:01|
|I understand the patients who suffered in the Neary case organised by the IHCA. Yet even the dramatisation on RTE of the circumstances of that review showed that the three consultants had (a) very little time; (b) very little information and (c) Neary's personal explanations which, without more information and in the face-to-face context, must have come across as compelling. That they deemed he could no longer perform these hysterectomies without supervision or another doctor's opinion surely immediately limited the risk of further unnecessary hysterectomies. It has to be realised that for any surgeon to be banned from using his own expertise without first asking for another opinion is hugely degrading, and a massive fall from grace. That said, it was hard to swallow the bit in the review about the hospital being fortunate to have a surgeon of Neary's standard. I'd have thought his method of incision alone (not the bikini line) would have caused concern, although I know that's nothing compared to the loss of the womb. One lesson that can clearly be learned is that a panel of one's peers is not fair way to review someone's work. Even with the best intentions of integrity, it has to colour the review. In my own work, I would not welcome having to do this. I have personally fallen 'victim' to poor surgical practice, so I'm not writing this from a place of ignorance of the consequences of bad medical decision making. Eight years on, I'm still struggling with anger, and physically I'm quite impaired from it for life. I considered legal action, but the legal advice I got was that it would take about seven years, and unless I was so incapacitated I couldn't work or lead a normal life, I'd have wasted my time. Plus, it would cost me a fortune to fly professionals in from Britain or further afield, as I'd find it hard to find anyone in Ireland who would give evidence against a peer. I didn't have the money to risk this, and I was damned if I wasn't going to get as well as possible - as soon as possible - and get back to work and what's called 'normal' life. When I was watching the dramatisation of the Neary case, I could feel my blood boiling, as I could empathise. Most particularly with the hero-worship of the surgeon, and how dangerous that is. I witnessed people in the same ward as me dying of politeness, as a plonker in a dickey-bow dictated nonsense about their conditions when even I, a mere layperson, could tell the consultant was talking through his nine-iron.|
|alo Posted: 05/09/2008 16:27|
|Some conultants think they are untouchable, just like the Catholic Church was only a year or two ago, The film on RTE made my blood boil to see what he got away with.|
|Aine Posted: 05/09/2008 19:17|
|I watched the programme and it made me cry. I was shocked that Neary got away with it so long. In Ireland they have always put priests and consultants up on a pedestal, they were like gods. It is a dangerous thing to worship people like that.|
|lilly Posted: 06/09/2008 11:35|
|I don't know who to blame for the mess so many people had their lives ruined by this doctor, surely we should not just sit here and allow this man to retire with full pension. if this was france everybody would have downed tools and taken to the streets, until the government did something. just like the priests got away with all the abuse, maybe we treated doctors like Gods for so long that they, and those who are in charge of hiring and firing them started to believe it. go to any hospital and look around. what you'll find is an administrative staff that is three times as big as is necessary. I must agree that MOST doctors and nurses are first rate, but not all. maybe it's that Irish thing, like not liking to complain about a cold or badly cooked meal in a restaurant, but this is life or death.|
|alo Posted: 08/09/2008 22:41|
|Re post 6/9/0811:35 Lilly , What's new? You have powerful people who do as they wish starting with the goverment the church and this consultant and there's more to come. Thank God for the power of the media only for them we would often be left in the dark. My view would be for all law abiding people march and keep marching until the goverment takes notice. People power is a wonderful thing.|
|Chrissie Posted: 09/09/2008 06:03|
|I watched the Programme on the 31st August and the following night 1st September and it made me feel so rotten that Dr. Neary could get away with all he did for all those years and nobody could stop him, until that Nurse brought it to light. Thank God she did do this, he eventually got struck off so he could not inflict more suffering to more very very young women, or indeed women of any child bearing years and within a blink of an eye he and only he without consulting with any medics performed his act of peripartum hysterectomies, and told them he saved their lives. I feel it deeply for all those women who went through this. We will never know whether or not he looked ahead of what he did to them long term for the rest of their Lives. I wish to point out here The Womb is not just a Carrier Bag to give birth to babies. Years ago I read a "Book" written by a Prominent Consultant from another Country and this Doctor quoted what some Docs do "If in Doubt whip it Out" this Dr. talked of Gynae Problems and recommended get a 2nd or 3rd opinion before you have your Womb and ovaries removed. But all these women Dr Neary treated had no time to think, they were going through the Trauma of believing that the Hysterectomy would save their Life, and the women who woke up not knowing that their Womb was removed. It's mind boggling what I heard and read about Dr. Neary I put a lot of thought into this before writing my opinion. I read on this site that Patient Focus posted "GROUP SEEKS ADDRESS FOR ALL NEARY VICTIMS" Date: Saturday 30 August 2008 20:36 To shorten what they asked was prior to broadcast of this programme they call on the Minister for Health to widen the redress scheme to include the 35 women who fall outside it's original terms. I take this to mean all about the missing Files of these women. According to our Medical System your own G.P. is your Prime Carer. Why does our Health System not request that all those G.Ps. that received any Letters from Dr. Neary during those years concerning these Patients hand them over. Even in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital they must have a back up system from their Computers about Letters he wrote, Pathology Reports, Blood Group, oestrogen levels, there is a lot of information there to be collected. It's no excuse to say "All these Files just disappeared and nobody is accountable for how they went missing. Mary Harney can backtrack if she employs some professionals to do this and take some course of action for all these women whose whole self were defiled for the rest of their Lives. I surely hope that nothing like this should ever happen again. This programme we watched was only like the tip of an Iceberg. I'm not insulting those who portrayed the Real Victims of Dr. Neary but when I listened to the News went on the Net about what he did I was appalled at the damage he constued on so very very many women. He worked in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital from 1974 to 1998, nearly 3 Decades. In the Programme it was said he had no time to study Obstetrics he worked so many long hours there. I don't know if it is their obligation to study and sit exams here say every three to five years, but it is absolutely an absolute Rule in the United States for all Doctors to keep up with advancing techniques in all aspects of medicine. I even read on this Site posted 18/04/2007 "40 m Euro for Neary Victims Compensation" stating 175 Women who had Wombs and Ovaries removed unnecessarially could receive awards between 380,00 and 60,000 Euro Mary Harney apologized to these women but could someone tell me has this money gone through yet to these Victims? Also to receive a mere 60,000 Euro after losing such a vital organ to carry a Baby whether it was the Mother's 1st or 2nd or indeed any more children is a downright insult to them. Money can never replace what was taken from all these women. So very sadly, I read on a trusted Site that (Two Women who underwent this operation ended up childless) I have been all through these years keeping up with the Media etc about Dr. Neary. I am not involved in any organization, but I am a victim in my own right from Medics who told me I complained about so many Medics they made me out to be a LIAR when I am not. I truly believe that Medics and Consultants back each other up to the hilt even though they know there were mistakes made. When will we see it ever change!!!!!! I agree with what Lilly posted if it had happened in France they would have taken to the Streets. I truly wish that those out there that have and are going through their lives healthy that hardly ever stayed in a Hospital Bed would try to even fathom and understand the hopeless situation our Medical System is in. I wish them a long and healthy life, but please try and find the time to complain to your Local T.D. about our System and some day maybe things will change and Patients will be taken more care of sooner, rather than later as it now stands.|
|lisann Posted: 09/09/2008 10:20|
|can anyone tell me if the minister for health or the hse are taking criminal proceedings against neary?|
|alo Posted: 10/09/2008 22:28|
|If the hse or minister were taking a case against this man would he be getting this big payout?|
|Trinity Posted: 11/09/2008 10:30|
|No one can take taking criminal proceedings against Neary. its not possible, he is too well protected. What is so maddening is that he gets a €70,000 pension a year from the government!! he just walks away getting away with it. He has set the 'standard' for other consultants or health care workers who 'make mistakes'.|
|alo Posted: 11/09/2008 19:53|
|Is it the times that we are living or is it because we have other problems?|
|lisann Posted: 12/09/2008 13:54|
|I have being in touch with patients focus and talked to one of Neary's victims. She informs me that no criminal proceedings could be taken against Neary because of some 19 century law [intent]. The govt promise to update this law but as usual they did nothing. It makes mesick.|
|Judy Posted: 17/09/2008 09:57|
|The programme also made be furious, sick and sad. For Neary to be degraded and suffer a massive fall from grace is nothing compared to having perfectly healthy organs removed from perfectly healthy women deliberately and unneccessarily to all purposes and intents and thereby, for no reason, preventing them ever having other children and in some cases making very young women menopausal decades before their time, (again deliberatley and needlessly it appears). Yet all he got was struck off. And still those women affected have never ever got an explanation as to why it happened - an explanation to which they are absolutely entitled. I find it to be absolutely true what you say Chrissie about some doctors creed of "If in Doubt whip it Out".|
|lisann Posted: 17/09/2008 13:08|
|well judy dont be surprised. as i pointed out in anther post ,you are 5 times likely to die in irish hospitals than driving on irish roads, these are verified international figures. read mary harneys comments in the june/july health suplement of the irish independent 2005|
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