Whittington Hospital ‘missed chance’ to offer FGM support to young mum who was operated on

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena leaves Southwark Crown Court. Picture: PA

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena leaves Southwark Crown Court. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

A young mother who allegedly had female genital mutilation (FGM) performed on her at the Whittington Hospital was “let down” by medics, a midwife has told jurors.

The woman, identified only as AB, first underwent genital mutilation aged six in Somalia and should have been referred to a specialist FGM midwife before she gave birth, Southwark Crown Court heard.

But a community midwife failed to send her down the “FGM pathway”, contrary to the hospital’s policy, and she did not receive the specialist care she was entitled to.

This meant it was only when the 24-year-old went into labour in November 2012 that staff at the hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway, discovered the FGM.

Immediately after the birth, junior registrar Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, allegedly broke the law by stitching the young mother back up, re-doing the FGM, the court heard.

The defence say the doctor did not know what he did was illegal

Joy Clarke, a midwife specialising in FGM, visited the mother after the birth. Edmund Vickers, representing Hasan Mohamed who is accused of abetting the offence, said to the midwife: “Until the day of delivery she hadn’t had any support at all by the FGM specialist had she? In that respect, she had been let down hadn’t she?”

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Ms Clarke replied: “You could say that, yes.”

Jurors heard that community midwife Jane Padmore-Wood saw the woman in May 2012 and asked her if she had any “stitches down below”, referring to FGM.

The woman replied “it’s fine, it’s opened”, alluding to an operation she had the previous year to undo the FGM.

Ms Padmore-Wood told the court she thought this meant AB did not need specialist care, but conceded there had been “missed opportunities”.

Dharmasena, of Ilford, Essex, denies carrying out FGM. Mohamed, 41, denies two counts of abetting, encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence.

The trial continues.