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Savita doctor in clear on 'misconduct' complaint

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Dr Katherine Astbury

Dr Katherine Astbury

Frank Mc Grath

Savita Halappanavar

Savita Halappanavar

The Irish Times/PA Wire

Mayor of Galway Padraig Conneely

Mayor of Galway Padraig Conneely

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Dr Katherine Astbury

The obstetrician in charge of the care of the late Savita Halappanavar will not face a disciplinary inquiry, the Irish Independent has learned.

Dr Katherine Astbury, who oversaw the case of Ms Halappanavar in University Hospital Galway in 2012, will not be the subject of any fitness-to-practise inquiry by the doctors' regulatory body, the Medical Council.

A complaint about the tragedy was lodged by Galway Lord Mayor and Fine Gael councillor Pádraig Conneely, but a meeting of the Medical Council earlier this month decided there was not sufficient cause to warrant further action.

Ms Halappanavar (31) was 17 weeks pregnant at the time of her admission to hospital. She was told she would miscarry and both she and her husband Praveen asked for a termination, but were refused because the foetus had a heartbeat.

Independent reports and an inquest later confirmed she had a potentially virulent infection, which was missed by staff who failed to properly assess and monitor her. This sepsis progressed to septic shock and she died a week later. The tragedy put Ireland's abortion laws under a global spotlight.

The Medical Council had referred the complaint for assessment to its preliminary proceedings committee. It asked Scottish obstetrician Dr Jane Norman to examine Dr Astbury's actions.

She concluded that Dr Astbury's management was "appropriate in terms of clinical decision-making and treatment option. She involved other colleagues appropriately".

Dr Astbury was also interviewed and medical notes were examined.

Irish Independent