Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil,

I am reminded of a German poem about the holocaust. I can’t remember the German version of the poem nor the exact words but this is the basic jist of the poem.

Everyone Knew

Most knew

Many knew

Some knew

Few knew

No one knew.

This seems apt over the Dr Michael Neary case.

The Dr Neary case is shocking. He removed the wombs of 129 women in mainly unnecessary hysterectomies at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, over a 25-year period. The report into the matter is disturbing. He had a 'morbid sensitivity' to the patient bleeding when carrying out surgery. It says Dr Neary perceived hysterectomy as something to prevent bleeding and lost sight of the norms operated in every other hospital in Ireland.

The report also said

"Dr Neary’s fall from grace is not a simple story of an evil man or bad doctor; nor is it a story of wholesale suppression of facts…it is not the story of a surgeon with poor surgical skills or a doctor deficient in academic excellence…it is the story of a doctor who, at critical points during his training, was inadequately supervised."

The most damming part of this whole incident is the silence. It is ludicrous to suggest that a doctor could carry out so many hysterectomies , 20 times as would be statistically carried out and no one would see anything suspicious. Also how did 44 womens medical files disappear. The lists of people who said nothing is extensive, obstetricians in the unit; the junior doctors; the anaesthetists; surgical nurses; pathologists, the Medical Missionaries of Mary, or the GPs of the caesarean hysterectomy patients . It seems ludicrous that no one knew. In the end it was 2 midwives that complained.

I can’t really say much about the atmosphere in hospitals but I get the impression that consultants are the kings. Everyone is scared of them. No junior doctor was going to question him for fear of ruining their career. They are accountable to no one. Trevor Sargent said “Many nurses are living in deference, if not fear, of consultants and there is a need to deal with that culture,” If we are going to learn the lessons of this case. Maybe that is the lesson we need to take. Accountability Accountability Accountabily.

Because some knew and did nothing.

Good article here from

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