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Sunday 16 June 2019

First week of inquest – what they said

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

"I did mention a Catholic country, I didn't mention it in a hurtful context . . . It was not in the context of offending her and sorry if it came across that way. I don't think I came across as insensitive at the time but I have to say it does sound very like that now."

Ann Maria Burke, the midwife manager who admitted she uttered the phrase that "went around the world".

"Public hospitals in Ireland do not operate under religious tenets or dogma."

The coroner, Ciaran McLoughlin, on hearing Ms Burke's evidence.

"I recall informing Ms Halappanavar that the legal position in Ireland did not permit me to terminate the pregnancy in her case at that time."

Dr Katherine Astbury recollects telling Savita that she could not terminate her pregnancy at 8.20am on Tuesday, October 23.

"I also informed Ms Halappanavar that if we did not identify another source of infection or if she did not continue to improve we might have no option but to consider a termination regardless of the foetal heart."

Dr Astbury tells the inquest of her view on the Wednesday morning after Savita's health deteriorated.

"A patient seems to have to get worse before getting better."

"Unfortunately that seems to be the case."

Eugene Gleeson, senior counsel for Praveen Halappanavar, commenting on Irish laws on terminations, and the response of the coroner, Ciaran McLoughlin.

"She was one of the healthiest patients in the ward that night . . . I have never seen a woman with inevitable miscarriage get sick so quickly and I have been a midwife for seven years."

Midwife Miriam Dunleavy on the deterioration in Savita's condition.

"Sepsis is very difficult, it's very overwhelming, it's very serious. She was so septic the foetus was not going to continue . . . It's hard to survive sepsis, without having a septic abortion."

Patricia Gilligan, a midwife who looked after Savita from 8am on Wednesday morning when she was seriously ill. The foetal heartbeat stopped hours later.

"The time that I saw her, her temperature had come down and her pulse rate was settling. It seemed that she was responding to the treatment."

Dr Astbury on why she did not induce Savita's foetus early on Wednesday morning but waited for conclusive test results.

"It was not an alteration of the record. It was not a tampering of the record."

Declan Buckley, barrister for University College Hospital Galway, on marks made on Savita's medical records. The hospital was asked to explain why "a flurry of retrospective notes were made on her chart".

"Savita loved the limelight, she enjoyed the attention. And it's all for her, and maybe something out of this will be for good in the long run," he said. "I sense her all around me in this court – big time. I cannot believe I am doing this on my own. She is always there at my side."

Praveen Halappanavar quoted in the Guardian yesterday.

Irish Independent

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