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Savita: Jury expected to return verdict at inquest today

Verdict is expected today as the members of the jury are charged by Galway coroner

Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when admitted to University Hospital Galway on October 21 last year with an inevitable miscarriage.

The 31-year-old dentist died a week later in intensive care from multi-organ failure from septic shock and E.coli, four days after she delivered a dead foetus.

Galway coroner Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin will charge members of the jury this morning, who are due to return a verdict during the day.

Mrs Halappanavar's widower Praveen is said to be preparing himself for the ruling after finding much of the evidence over the last seven days distressing.

He did not attended the hearing yesterday, the last day of evidence, as the details of the autopsy reports were too upsetting, his solicitor said.

Gerard O'Donnell said evidence given on Ireland's abortion laws had also been "taking its toll" on his client.

Leading obstetrician Peter Boylan claimed Mrs Halappanavar would probably still be alive if the law in Ireland allowed an abortion as she miscarried before there was a real risk to her life, by which time it was too late to save her.

He outlined a number of deficiencies in her care, but stressed that none on their own was likely to have resulted in Mrs Halappanavar's death.

Her consultant, obstetrician Katherine Astbury, previously admitted there were "system failures" but claims she could not carry out an abortion because of Irish law which states there must be a significant risk to the life, not health, of a woman.

The Irish Government has pledged to publish new abortion laws in July, which will include the threat of suicide as a risk to life and a combination of legislation and regulations for doctors to abide by in cases where there may be uncertainty.

Elsewhere the coroner's court heard the cause of death was septic shock, E.coli in the bloodstream - the ESBL strain which is resistant to most antibiotics - and miscarriage.

The most common source of infection was one ascending up the genital tract and that it most likely originated in the patient's rectum as there was no other focus of infection, pathologist Prof Grace Callagy said.

Online Editors