A DOCTOR who exonerated Michael Neary before Neary was struck off for wrongly removing the wombs and ovaries of more than 120 women has landed a top training post.
Professor Walter Prendeville was one of three doctors who, in 1988, wrote reports backing Neary’s work at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
Despite subsequently being found guilty of professional misconduct for his role in allowing Neary to continue carrying out operations between 1974 and 1998, Prof. Prendeville has been appointed director of Ireland’s first National Skills Centre (NSC).
Sheila O’Connor, whose group, Patient Focus, represents many of Neary’s former patients, said: ‘It is amazingly insensitive to have Prof. Prendeville in charge of the centre.’
A spokesman for Dublin’s Coombe Women’s Hospital, where the NSC is based, said: ‘Prof. Prendeville was appointed due to his skills and experience in the area.’
The HSE-funded centre has been set up to provide ‘hands-on’ training for medical and surgical personnel.
Miss O’Connor added: ‘We call on the Coombe to intervene to ensure Prof. Prendeville apologises to the women and their families in relation to his behaviour towards Michael Neary and his support for him.’
Neary’s former patients have been given the go-ahead to claim compensation from the Government’s redress scheme, and claims look set to cost more than e45m, around e7.7m of which will be met by insurance companies.
Prof. Prendeville is appealing the Medical Council’s decision in February to uphold recommendations from its Fitness To Practice Committee (FTPC) that he and two other obstetricians who exonerated Neary be found guilty of professional misconduct.
The High Court heard in March that both Prof.
Prendeville – who is president of the prestigious British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology – and Dr John Murphy regarded the FTPC’s decision against them as ‘unreasonable and irrational’.
Their reports in 1988 said the number of hysterectomies Neary had carried out up to that point was not excessive.
It is believed that as many as half the women who had ovaries removed by Neary still do not know whether the procedure – known as a bilateral oophorectomy – carried out on them was even necessary.