independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

No inquest evidence from midwife

Obstetrician Dr Peter Boylan at the inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar

Crucial evidence from the midwife who cared for Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar as she fell critically ill will not be given to her inquest, it has been confirmed.

The nurse, who has not been named and may hold vital information on why a doctor did not check the 31-year-old, has been certified not to give a statement, answer questions or attend hearings, coroner Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin revealed. No explanation has been given publicly for the midwife's absence.

She was caring for Mrs Halappanavar on the morning of Wednesday October 24 as her condition rapidly deteriorated.

Expert witness Peter Boylan told the inquest the midwife may have been able to clarify why a doctor was not called to attend to Mrs Halappanavar before 1pm when she was already in septic shock.

Her blood tests were known by 10.36am that day and showed an unusually low white blood cell count.

Mr Boylan said charts revealed Savita's blood pressure dropped every time her vitals were checked between 8am and 10.30am that day indicating severe sepsis.

"It is not clear why there was not a request for a doctor to review Mrs Halappanavar by then," Mr Boylan said.

"I notice no statement is available from the midwife caring for Mrs Halappanavar all through that morning. The lack of a statement from the nurse caring for Mrs Halappanavar on the morning gives rise to a deficit in reaching an understanding the sequence of events that morning."

Mr Boylan said poor quality and retrospective notes on the Wednesday after Dr Astbury's ward wound at 8.30am, and the lack of a statement from the midwife, were not helpful in understanding what happened.

The coroner said there was "nothing he could do" about the midwife's absence.

Press Association

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