independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Savita death probe to be published

A statutory inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar after she miscarried is to be published

A statutory inquiry into the death of a pregnant woman after she miscarried will be published, the health watchdog has said.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) revealed it will review the safety, quality and standards of services provided at Galway University Hospital where Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar died.

The probe will examine the care given by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to all patients, including pregnant women, as their conditions deteriorate and will focus on the diagnosis and management of patients with sepsis, which is believed to have claimed Ms Halappanavar's life.

The dead woman's husband Praveen has said he will not co-operate with the investigation, or an HSE clinical inquiry, and is taking his demands for a public inquiry into her death to the European Court of Human Rights.

Publishing its terms of reference, Hiqa said the report will be published for the benefit of the health and welfare of the public.

"If, in the course of the investigation, it becomes apparent that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there are further or other serious risks to the health or welfare of any person receiving similar services, the investigation team may recommend to the authority and/or the Minister for Health, that these terms be extended to include further investigation or that a new investigation should be undertaken, as appropriate," it added.

Ms Halappanavar, 31, died on October 28, 17 weeks into her pregnancy, having miscarried and subsequently suffered septicaemia, and her husband claims that doctors refused to carry out an abortion because a foetal heartbeat was present, adding they were told Ireland "is a Catholic country".

The controversy has reignited divisive debates on abortion in Ireland with the Government committed to reforming a limited ban in certain circumstances where there is a risk to the mother's life.

Mr Halappanavar will meet his legal team early next week to decide how to take his case for a public inquiry to Strasbourg under article two of the European Convention of Human Rights.

It is understood that if the court agrees to hear arguments, it would be the first case of its kind against the Irish Government.

Press Association

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