independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Reilly denies Savita probe a 'shambles' as notes on requests for a termination missing

Praveen Halappanavar, says he has no faith in the HSE

HEALTH Minister James Reilly has denied the HSE inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar is "a shambles" – despite the revelation that her repeated requests for a termination are missing from her medical notes.

Savita's devastated husband, Praveen Halappanavar, spoke out at his shock over the missing medical notes, telling the Irish Independent how the absence of this information had destroyed any faith he had in the HSE.

The detailed notes from University Hospital Galway include information on requests for tea and toast and additional blankets, but make no reference whatsoever to the couple's requests over two separate days for the unviable pregnancy to be terminated.

Mr Halappanavar insists he will not participate in the HSE investigation into his wife's death and has called for a full, sworn public inquiry.

However, while admitting he was concerned at the missing notes, Dr Reilly denied the situation was a shambles.

He also said the potential involvement of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in a parallel inquiry was "very welcome and adds a new dimension in terms of independence".

"This (the missing notes) is a concern and this is a substantive matter for the investigation. It would be prejudicial for me to make any comment," he said.

"I would hope to have a full report before Christmas and the HIQA report as well."

Dr Reilly would not rule out a sworn public inquiry. However, he insisted such an option could see the inquiry "go on for years".

Medical records made available to Mr Halappanavar do not include doctors' notes for Monday, October 22 – the day the couple first requested a termination.

Anger

While doctors' notes are available for Tuesday, October 23, they make no reference to the requested termination which was reiterated on that date.

Mr Halappanavar had felt "no anger" towards medical staff in the hospital before the records went missing.

"It's time to get the facts and the truth for Savita," added Mr Halappanavar.

"I don't have any faith in the HSE. I saw [the files] earlier this week. It was a blow and that was the reason why we never wanted the HSE inquiry," he said.

It has also emerged that a number of clinical notes were added to the file after Mrs Halappanavar's death.

However, none of these refer to the termination request.

"They have all the other information including requests for tea and toast and for an extra blanket, all of that is in the notes. But the important information about requesting the termination is not," said Mr Halappanavar.

Tony O'Brien, head of the HSE, said it would attempt to provide any information being sought by Mr Halappanavar, relating to his wife's medical records.

He said the seven-member team would complete its examination of what happened and this is already under way at the hospital.

He had asked the patient safety watchdog, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), to begin a separate investigation.

Mr Halappanavar had threatened not to make his wife's medical records available to the clinical inquiry, but the Data Protection Commissioner's office said this was not possible because they related to a deceased person and are the property of the HSE.

Mr O'Brien appealed to Mr Halappanavar to co-operate with the clinical review.

Reiterating his calls for a full, public inquiry, Mr Halappanavar said he was not sure if a HIQA probe would fulfil the remit of the inquiry he believed was necessary.

He also insisted he will not meet with Health Minister Dr James Reilly in Galway today.

Irish Independent

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