High Court refuses application for costs in symphysiotomy case​

Survivors of Symphysiotomy has​ expressed satisfaction with ​today’s High Court judgme​nt​ refusing the State’s application for costs in a case involving a so-called ​prophylactic symphysiotomy ​done ​in 1963 ​at the Coombe Hospital, Dublin.

​’It was unseemly to see the State Claims Agency, with its bottomless pockets, battle a plaintiff in her 70s for full costs’, said Marie O’Connor, Chairperson​ of Survivors of Symphysiotomy​.

‘​Over ​a ​four-week​ period, ​the Agency – with the tacit approval of the Government and the Department of Health – fought ​the ​
plaintiff ​to the death in an attempt to justify the ​gratuituous ​breaking of her pelvis 12 days before the birth of her baby. ​Today Mr Justice Cross decided that, in justice, given that this was a test case and that the plaintiff had been damaged by the operation, she should not have to bear the costs of her action against the defendant.’

M​s ​O’Connor​ continued: ​’​o​ur campaign for truth and justice will continue until the truth about these barbarous operations is established.​ ​We cannot accept that symphysiotomy, as a planned and scheduled operation, done in preference to Caesarean section, was justified.​ We repeat our call for an independent inquiry into the practice.​

‘This case highlights the absence of effective remedies for women who have been subjected to symphysiotomy, which was deemed torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by the UN Human Rights Committee. The State scheme is a no fault cost saver. Many of our members are experiencing its administration as quixotic and adversarial’, she added.

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