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Litany of scandals at Irish hospital

Oor Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda has been mired in a series of high-profile scandals and controversies in recent years, many of which have centred on the standard of care given to pregnant women.


Disgraced obstetrician Dr Michael Neary was struck off the medical register in 2003 after an investigation found he had needlessly removed the wombs and ovaries of dozens of expectant mothers.

A state inquiry concluded that his actions over the course of 20 years were motivated more by a "phobia" of losing patients than by malice or incompetence.

However, the scandal led to the introduction of a "whistleblower" clause to give legal protection to health workers who raised concerns about the conduct of colleagues.


Sergeant Tania Corcoran-McCabe was six months pregnant with twins when she presented at the hospital in March, 2007 with stomach pains. Doctors failed to diagnose that she was suffering ruptured membranes and she was sent home.

She was rushed back to the hospital within 24 hours by which stage she was suffering from sepsis and an emergency caesarean section was performed. Sgt Corcoran-McCabe died on the operating table while one of her twin boys, Zach, also lost his life.

An inquest returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure in relation to the young mother.


Our Lady of Lourdes came in for sharp criticism earlier this year after it was revealed that staff had continued to perform painful symphysiotomy procedures on pregnant women up until the early 1980s, despite other hospitals ending the practice nearly 20 years earlier.

The procedure, which involved widening the pelvis during childbirth, left many women with long-term health problems including incontinence, back pain and depression.

Mother Kathleen Naughton, who is still living with the consequences of the symphysiotomy she underwent there 35 years ago, said doctors at the time considered themselves to be "gods".


Thousands of X-rays had to be reviewed after Scottish locum radiologist Dr James Murphy mistakenly gave the all-clear to nine lung cancer patients, eight of whom subsequently died. He worked at Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda and Our Lady's Hospital in Navan between August 2006 and August 2007.

An investigation found that the misdiagnoses resulted in delayed treatment which took months off the lives of some patients. One had to wait over a year before being diagnosed.

To add insult to injury, during the X-ray review, a mailing error led to the families of 179 dead people being mistakenly told their loved-ones' cases were going to be re-checked.


Surgeon Michael Shine, who retired from the hospital in 1995, was struck off the medical register in 2008 after the Medical Council found he had abused his professional position by making sexual advances towards three male patients.

He was acquitted of sexual assault during a court case seven years ago following complaints by patients treated at the hospital from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Source Irish Independent

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