Sunday 18 February 2018

Government to examine death report

Praveen Halappanavar did not co-operate with the inquiry into the death of his wife Savita
Praveen Halappanavar did not co-operate with the inquiry into the death of his wife Savita

The Government is expected to examine a final report on the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar within 10 days.

Health Minister Dr James Reilly refused to be drawn on contents of a draft report from the inquiry, which points to a lack of clarity on abortion rules and absent leadership among hospital staff.

Mrs Halappanavar, 31, died on October 28 at University Hospital Galway, 17 weeks into her pregnancy. Mrs Halappanavar miscarried and subsequently suffered septicaemia, and her husband claims that doctors refused to carry out an abortion as a foetal heartbeat was present.

Dr Reilly said he intended to release the Health Service Executive (HSE) report as soon as possible, but indicated there may be legal reasons not to publish it in full. "I haven't seen it and I don't have it," he said.

The HSE inquiry looked at Mrs Halappanavar's treatment from October 21-28. Draft findings from the inquiry included that blood tests from the day Mrs Halappanavar was admitted were not followed up on, the Evening Herald has reported.

It also found doctors did not respond immediately to calls to attend to her because they were too busy, and it warns that abortion on medical grounds was not considered early enough in her care.

Dr Reilly has previously warned that the inquiry might be considered incomplete as Mrs Halappanavar's husband Praveen did not co-operate.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny insisted the priority should be to explain the findings to Mr Halappanavar. "That report is not finalised and has not been received by the minister," Mr Kenny said.

"I would have expected that the husband of the late woman should be the first person who should be briefed about what has happened here, and I am not going to make any comment about newspaper reports because this report is not concluded, it's not finalised and has not been received by the minister. When it is, the first person to be briefed about the report should be her husband."

Three inquiries were launched into Mrs Halappanavar's death, by the HSE, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) and an inquest by coroner Ciaran MacLoughlin in Galway.

Press Association

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