IF YOU WERE wandering around Smithfield yesterday morning, you would be forgiven for thinking a Coffee and Cake morning had stumbled into the city centre.
But the women who gathered – eating scones and drinking tea – at the Lighthouse Cinema do not have the local parish in common. It is something much more sinister.
One 86-year-old woman, Rita McCann noted, ‘I came on the Luas and I didn’t know if the cinema was on this side or the other. Then I spotted two women and said, ‘I’m sure they are heading for it’. When you see the limps going you get the message.’
The limp is a common ailment in women who have suffered through symphysiotomies, a painful surgical procedure used in maternity hospitals across Ireland in the 20th century. Other problems include chronic back pain and incontinence.
Often performed in the place of the more commonplace Caesarean section, symphysiotomies involved breaking the woman’s pelvis during childbirth. The Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SOS) group claims that the operations were carried out without prior knowledge or consent ‘mainly for religious reasons, by obstetricians who were opposed to family planning.’
SOS continues to fight for justice, calling for recognition of the suffering they have gone through as a result of unnecessary procedures, and asking for compensation. The women, many of whom are in their 70s and 80s, want the statute of limitations waived so they can seek damages from the State. The request has received cross-party support in recent months but action has been slow. So slow, that many are preparing for a long-drawn out legal process.
Read the article. DO NOT GOOGLE “Symphysiotomy” it is horrific.