| 17.7°C Dublin

'Law must cover terminations in acute hospitals'

THE Government will have to allow for terminations to take place in acute general hospitals to allow for women who have life-threatening heart disease, a leading cardiologist has warned.

Under existing terms of the legislation allowing for limited abortion, terminations would only take place in one of the country's 19 maternity units.

However, Dr Kevin Walsh, a cardiologist in the Mater Hospital, said it would not be possible to carry out a termination on a pregnant female patient whose life is in danger due to heart disease in a maternity hospital.

"When termination is required to save the life of a woman with critical illness then it would have to be performed in an adult major teaching hospital with access to intensive care and the relevant specialists," he said.

"This clearly would not be the case in any of the public obstetric hospitals in Dublin."

And Dr Janice Walshe, a medical oncologist in St Vincent's Hospital, said it would be necessary for the legislation to allow for two cancer specialists to certify that a woman should have a termination in a life-threatening situation. This could be done in consultation with her obstetrician.

She said the administration of chemotherapy to a pregnant woman might have unintended complications, potentially putting the mother's life at risk.

Irish Independent