A new report on the death of Savita Halappanavarthe Indian
death last year at 17 weeks pregnant sparked a debate over Ireland’s abortion
lawsstates that there was a “general
lack of provision of basic, fundamental care” as she was treated at
University Hospital Galway.
husband claimed that doctors refused to terminate his wife’s pregnancy after
she was hospitalized with severe pain, allegedly telling the couple, “This is a
Catholic country.” After several days in the hospital, Halappanavar miscarried,
and shortly after died of sepsis. Activists pointed to Halappanavar’s death in
calling for changes to Ireland’s abortion laws, claiming that she would have
survived had she been given the abortion for which she asked. In July, Irish
President Michael Higgins signed into law a bill allowing abortion in Ireland
under certain conditions, including when the mother’s life is at risk.
The Irish Independent has a
story on the report released today on Halappanavar’s death:
Watchdog the Health Information and Quality Authority
(HIQA) said that doctors failed to recognise that [Halappanavar] was suffering
from an infection and failed to act on signs that she was deteriorating.
regulation Phelim Quinn said there were a series of missed opportunities in Mrs
Halappanavar's care in University Hospital Galway.
investigation also identified a number of missed opportunities to intervene in
her care which, if they had been acted upon, may have resulted in a different
outcome for Savita Halappanavar," he said.
and treatment depends on the regular monitoring and recording of a patient's
clinical observations and recognising their significance, acting appropriately
on the findings, escalating concerns and the seamless clinical handover of
information relating to each patient within and between clinicians and clinical
Key findings of the HIQA
*General lack of
provision of basic, fundamental care, for example, not following up on blood
tests as identified in Mrs Halappanavar's case.
*Failure to recognise
that Mrs Halappanavar was at risk of clinical deterioration.
*Failure to act or
escalate concerns to an appropriately qualified clinician when Mrs Halappanavar
was showing signs of clinical deterioration.