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Jury must weigh up complex evidence

THE testimony has been dramatic and harrowing but the jurors will only be left with hard facts when they adjourn today to reach a verdict.

They will have to consider the medical care Savita received at the hospital and the legal constraints governing abortion under which doctors work.

The care that Savita received at the hospital has been found to be seriously wanting. On her admission, she was told she would miscarry and blood tests were ordered. They showed an elevated while-cell count but the results were not followed up.

Savita had a very aggressive strain of Ecoli. If this had been identified earlier, she would have received antibiotics sooner.

She was not monitored properly and her vital signs were not checked every four hours. On the night she deteriorated, these vital signs were not checked for nine hours.

The inquest also heard about failures of communication.

The senior consultant, Dr Katherine Astbury, did not read Savita's medical notes on the Wednesday morning when her patient was already very ill.

A termination was seen as inevitable but the decision was not taken until lunchtime, when the foetal heartbeat had already stopped.

By around 9.20 that morning, it was already too late to save Savita.

Obstetrician Peter Boylan said if a termination had taken place on the Tuesday, Savita would probably be alive.

But the medical team believed she was well and that this would have been unlawful because the foetus still had a heartbeat.

Irish Independent