By Grainne CunninghamWednesday February 13 2008
A VICTIM of Dr Michael Neary last night spoke of the "devastation" the disgraced surgeon has caused to a newly identified group of women.
Mother-of-two Caitriona Molloy, whose womb was removed after the birth of her second child Seamus, said the unnecessary surgery performed on these patients was "totally cruel".
Many of the women covered by the Porter/Clements investigation were relatively young and should have been able to look forward to having more children if they wished to do so.
Instead, women as young as 31 had both their ovaries removed, a procedure Ms Molloy described as "radical".
"They had surgery that was totally unnecessary," she said.
As a result of having their ovaries removed, they were plunged into an early menopause, with all the physical and emotional complications that can present with that.
They were at a higher risk of osteoporosis and exposed to other negative effects, earlier and possibly for longer than the average woman.
In other cases, Dr Neary had told them that the surgery he was proposing was essential because they had endometriosis, a disease that causes the lining of the uterus to grow abnormally.
In many cases, his diagnosis was incorrect and their reproductive organs were healthy.
But Dr Neary told them that not only was the operation necessary, but that if they did not have it, the endometriosis would damage them irreparably, could become malignant and ultimately cause their death.
This was completely untrue. Endometriosis always improves at the menopause and is not a pre-malignant condition.
After the surgery, the women were told they should not take hormonal replacement therapy.
"It was totally cruel, what they were put through, they did not deserve this," Ms Molloy, of Patient Focus, said.
For years after they were subject to this surgery, many of these women continued to believe that they had nearly died.
Apart from the fear of an early death, they had to live with the knowledge that they would never again conceive or carry a child, which in itself, is a significant psychological burden for many women.
These already distressed women also had to cope with the discomfort of early menopause and were forbidden the drugs which could have helped them to endure it.
And if they had managed to come to terms with their loss and move on with their lives, they were then faced with fresh emotional turmoil when the disturbing facts about Dr Neary began to emerge.
"It was completely devastating, given the trust they put into that doctor," Ms Molloy explained. These women had trusted Dr Neary with their lives and he had responded by mutilating them unnecessarily and by presenting them with a future devoid of the joy of more children.
Sheila O'Connor of Patient Focus, which represents many of the women affected by Dr Neary, said: "They were left changed, they were different people, they will need counselling, and for a long time to come."