A retrospective analysis of 34 potentially missed cases of female genital mutilation in the emergency department

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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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.

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