Pregnant Woman Dies After Hospital Denies Termination

A pregnant woman has died in hospital following a miscarriage just days after being refused the abortion that may have saved her life.

By Kerrie Mitchell

Three separate investigations have been launched into the death of 31 year old married Indian woman, Savita Halappanavar, following her death in Galway University Hospital.

It is understood that Mrs Halappanavar who lived in Roscam, Co. Galway with her husband, 34 year old Praveen, an engineer employed by Boston Scientific, died on October 28th after contracting a severe case of blood poisoning.

Mrs Halappanavar was admitted to Galway University Hospital a week earlier complaining of intense back pain where it was quickly discovered that the woman, now 17 weeks pregnant, was in fact miscarrying. Her husband Praveen claims that despite repeated requests from both his wife and her family for a medical termination hospital officials refused to carry out the procedure because a foetal heartbeat could still be detected.

It has also been reported – by numerous sources – that when Mr Halappanavar questioned the hospitals refusal to carry out the abortion he was informed by officials that it was not allowed because Ireland is a “Catholic country.”

Although the procedure was delayed a further three days, Mrs Halappanavar did eventually undergo surgery to remove the remains of the fetus. Following this the woman subsequently developed septicemia (this occurs when bacteria enters the blood stream) an infection which proved to be fatal. At 1.10 a.m. on October 28 Mrs Halappanavar was pronounced dead.

Now, Mrs Halappanavars distraught family is said to be taking legal action against the hospital claiming that if the fetus had in fact been removed earlier the life of this woman, a beloved wife and daughter, could have been saved.

Three separate investigations are now being carried out by the coroner in Galway, the local hospital’s risk review group and the HSE’s National Incident Management Team.

A spokesperson for the Hospital has refused to comment saying that the hospital cannot under any circumstances discuss the details of an individual patient within the media.

Undoubtedly this tragic case will re-open the debate on abortion which is perhaps Ireland’s most controversial and divisive social, legal and medical issue.

Currently, Ireland’s position in relation to abortion is set out in the Constitution as follows “it is lawful to terminate a pregnancy in Ireland if it is established as a matter of probability that there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother, which can only be avoided by a termination of the pregnancy.” This ruling also takes into account the mental health of the mother in question and the potential risk posed to her life which may arise from the threat of suicide.

Naturally this particular case will enrage pro-choice campaigners who will argue that this proves that abortions are not taking place in those cases where the mothers life is in fact at risk while pro-life campaigners will counter that matters are much more complex than this.

In what many reporters are dubbing a “terrible irony” this case comes just days after the Irish Government delayed revealing its stance on abortion. Health Minister Dr James Reilly was originally scheduled to report back to a European body by the end of October on the Government’s proposed actions following the ruling of the European Court Of Human Rights on the abortion regime in this country. Two years ago the Strasbourg Court criticised the Irish Government for leaving its own courts with a lack of clear information regarding lawful abortions. Dr Reilly now has just weeks to set out a plan to respond to the Courts ruling.

Over 1,000 people gathered outside Dàil Eireann last night in order to vent their fury at Ireland’s abortion stance following Savita’s death. Large crowds also assembled in Cork and other parts of the country to protest.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: