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Tuesday 12 November 2019

Savita: Draft report details litany of failures

Praveen Halappanavar sits with a photograph of his wife Savita at a friend's house in Galway yesterday

SAVITA Halappanavar’s request for an abortion should have been considered days before her death, a draft report has found.

Ms Halappanavar (31) died of a massive infection seven days after being admitted to hospital.

However, an investigation set up by Health Minister James Reilly has uncovered a litany of failures

The Evening Herald today reports details of a draft report by the Health Service Executive into the death of the Indian woman at University Hospital Galway last October, days after her family claim she had asked for but was denied an abortion.

According to the draft report, the infection which led to her death was not diagnosed for three days.

The failures included:

* Tests showing possible blood infection on the day Savita was admitted were never followed up by staff.

* Doctors were often too busy caring for other patients to deal immediately with the mum-to-be, whose condition grew progressively worse as time went on.

* To prevent the spread of infection, staff should have considered performing an abortion – even before the couple requested it.

On the day she was admitted last October, Savita and her husband Praveen were informed that a miscarriage, the most likely cause of which was infection, was inevitable.

The distraught couple repeatedly asked for a termination from the following Tuesday, however staff turned down the request, telling the couple that, as a result of the laws governing abortion, their “hands were tied”.

Instead, doctors chose to “await events”, and seven days after she was admitted Ms Halappanavar died.

She died four days after the foetal heartbeat stopped. An autopsy found Ms Halappanavar had died of septicaemia.

The HSE inquiry into her death was established on November 20th under the chairman ship of Prof Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George’s Hospital, University of London.

The inquiry team at first included three staff members from Galway University Hospital. However, they were later removed and replaced following objections by Mr Halappanavar.

The full inquest into Ms Halappanavar’s death will start on April 8th at Galway Courthouse and will last a week.

Five expert witnesses will be called, including the former master of the National Maternity Hospital, Peter Boylan.

*For full details of the draft report, read today’s Evening Herald

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