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A retrospective analysis of 34 potentially missed cases of female genital mutilation in the emergency department
  1. Richard John Fawcett1,2,
  2. George Kernohan2,3
  1. 1Emergency Department, Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Life Sciences and Education, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK
  3. 3Institute of Nursing and Health Research, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Richard John Fawcett, Emergency Department, Royal Stoke University Hospital,Newcastle Road, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 6QG, UK; Richard.fawcett{at}


Objectives To discover if healthcare professionals working within an ED are able to make a diagnosis of female genital mutilation (FGM) in those patients who have previously undergone the procedure and report it as per UK law.

Design A retrospective analysis of patients’ notes who were assigned an FGM code during the period of May 2015 to August 2016.

Setting Single-centre, large UK major trauma centre offering a tertiary FGM clinic.

Participants Any woman coded during the study period as having undergone FGM.

Primary outcome Number of FGM cases identified by the ED.

Secondary outcomes Mean age, presenting complaint, discharge diagnosis, genitourinary exam and defibulation status.

Results 34 patients were identified as having undergone FGM, 19 had previously attended ED and none had their FGM identified during their ED attendance. The age range of those identified was 23 to 40 years. None had undergone defibulation.

Conclusion This study demonstrates that the identification of FGM victims by an ED is very poor, and more work needs to be done to increase awareness of the subject by front-line staff.

  • emergency department management
  • violence, non-accidental
  • Uro-genital
  • law
  • guidelines

Statistics from


  • Contributors RJF designed the review, interpreted the data, drafted and revised the manuscript in addition to designing the best practice flow chart and data collection tool. GK provided supervision and jointly revised the final manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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