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Doctor in Savita case says that 'hands were tied' by the Eighth


Savita Halappanavar

Savita Halappanavar

Savita Halappanavar

The investigating doctor who led the inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar said the doctors treating her had their 'hands tied' by the Eighth Amendment.

He said her healthcare team at the hospital were too worried they might be accused of "performing an illegal act" by not complying with the Eighth Amendment if they had intervened to terminate her pregnancy.

Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran said according to his independent investigation, doctors looking after her "were really going for the foetal heartbeat all the time".

He said that by waiting too long to intervene, 31-year-old- Savita went into septic shock and "it became too late to save her life".

He admitted that her condition was also caused by hospital mismanagement.

"Here's a woman that comes in 17 weeks pregnant; bulging membranes with a pulse rate going up; chattering of the teeth; nausea and vomiting and very cold - all due to the sepsis.

When they recognised [the sepsis] in the morning, her pulse rate was double normal rate and she had a high fever.

But "as things were escalating their hands were held back", by the law.

Even the morning she died, they "were wanting to listen to the baby's heart when Savita was severely sick, just indicates how worried the health personnel were" about the law.

Prof Arulkumaran, who is a former president of the Royal College of Obstetricians, said: "I support legal abortion; and the others who don't, support illegal abortion."

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