Monday 20 January 2020

Savita's family will be consulted about terms of reference for probe into her death

Savita Halappanavar died after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia at a hospital in Galway last month (PA/Irish Times)
Savita Halappanavar died after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia at a hospital in Galway last month (PA/Irish Times)

Eilish O'Regan and Louise Hogan

The family of Savita Halappanavar will be consulted on the terms of reference of the inquiry into her tragic death.

A international expert in obstetrics and gynaecology is to be part of the inquiry team which will be chaired by the Health Service Executive's (HSE) head of patient safety, Dr Philip Crowley.

The HSE is understood to have found difficulty securing an outside expert from Northern Ireland or the UK who could devote the necessary time to the inquiry, which will need to be thorough but also completed in a reasonable timeframe.

The HSE said last night that it had now identified the international expert to join the team, which is being finalised and will also "involve a number of experts in the relevant disciplines."

This indicates that the inquiry will not just be an examination of the obstetric care given to Savita but will also look at her treatment for the septicaemia which a post-mortem said caused her death.

Her condition deteriorated and she died from septicaemia early on Sunday morning, a week after admission.

Savita's husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific, said his family were "eagerly awaiting" the outcome of the inquiry, and would like it completed as soon as possible.

"Fully independent would be the ideal one. That is the one we would prefer but I received a letter from the medical director when I was in Ireland and they were talking about an internal investigation," he said.

Prof Kieran Murphy, president of the Medical Council, which gives doctors guidelines, refused to be drawn on the advice given to obstetricians who face difficult decisions.

Irish Independent

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