Well over 20 years since a surgical slip-up left her in constant pain and unable to have the sexual intercourse she and her husband desired, a Portuguese woman has won her claim against a Lisbon hospital for damages.
But it has been a long and agonising road.
Said her lawyer Vítor Parente Ribeiro this week, the woman is satisfied that the battle “begun in 1995 (the year of her bungled operation) has finally born fruit”.
By fruit he was referring to the damages of over €172,000 which the woman was ‘awarded’ in 2013, and then cruelly deprived of due to an appeal in which judges concluded she was too old for sex to mean much anyway.
The gist of the wording of the Supreme Administrative Tribunal in 2015 was that “sexuality after the age of 50 didn’t have the same relevance as it would have had when she was young”, explains Ribeiro.
Thus the judges of the day slashed €61,000 off damages awarded in 2013 – and the woman who had explained that she “felt diminished as a woman” was left with only one option left: an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
This ‘foreign’ seat of justice wholeheartedly condemned the Portuguese decision – ordering compensation to be paid and court costs – and now the Supreme Administrative Tribunal has ‘reappreciated’ the 2015 decision.
It means that after 24 years without any compensation at all – and constant pain, urinary incontinence and all the mental anguish that goes with it – the woman should finally have some kind of closure.
The hospital that had been digging-in its heels against compensation is Lisbon’s Maternidade Alfredo da Costa (click here).