Symphysiotomy Injuries Compensation Awarded

A woman, who underwent a symphysiotomy procedure at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in 2000, has been awarded €591,297 symphysiotomy injuries compensation by the High Court.

Tracey Nelson, aged 45, from Navan in County Meath has the procedure prior to the delivery of her second child, when medical staff at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda failed to diagnose the symptoms of symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).

After many years suffering with the physical discomfort from the symphysiotomy, Tracey underwent the procedure in 2004 to stabilise her condition and again, in 2007, had to be fitted with a spinal cord stimulator – since when she has been practically free of pain.

However, as Tracey conveyed to Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill at the High Court, she has also suffered psychologically due to the negligence of the medical staff who did not fulfil their duty of care to manage her pregnancy.

Ms Nelson informed the court she had developed fibromyalgia – where she had constant pain in her muscles and joints – and as a result of this pain, started to drink alcohol heavily. This resulted in her marriage break up and, in turn, depression.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital did not admit liability for her injuries, but Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill ruled that he was content from the medical evidence there was a failure to diagnose SPD on February 2nd when Tracey attended the hospital complaining that she was suffering from pain in the pelvic area.

The judge said that he was in no doubt that the “primary cause” of Tracey´s physical and psychological injuries was the negligence of the HSE and “terrible consequences” that went with this. “I am quite satisfied that the failures in this regard fell substantially below the standard of care to be expected of doctors practising obstetrics in a maternity unit such as Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda,” he stated.

Awarding Tracey €591,297 in symphysiotomy injuries compensation, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill said that he was also happy that the doctors and midwives who attended Ms Nelson were “oblivious” to her SPD condition and consequently took no precautions to avoid the risk of avoidable injury during the course of her labour.