Monday 20 November 2017

Brendan O'Connor: Savita was an outsider in her greatest hour of need

She had champions and yet she was not listened to or heard as, hour by hour, she slipped closer to death.

Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

PEOPLE are afraid to have babies in Ireland now. At what should be a time of joy and excitement, women worry. Despite being told all the time that this is a safe country in which to have your baby, they worry. They worry that they will die, that their babies will die. A shadow has been cast over childbirth.

Savita Halappanavar went to hospital and she never came home. She died unnecessarily. And while the laws in this country are certainly culpable here, Savita also died because of neglect, incompetence, lack of communication and failures in the systems. She died not just because of our laws, but she died because of people.

Savita died because nobody saved her life. As she got sicker and sicker, no one saved her life. She went to hospital once and they sent her home. And she went to hospital again and she died. She died in slow motion, over days and days. They seem to have become too fixated on the foetal heartbeat, and all the while she was becoming more and more poisoned. They didn't know who was supposed to follow up the blood tests. They didn't talk to each other properly about her case. They didn't see what was happening to her before their very eyes. They didn't even do an ultrasound the night she came in because the machine wasn't working. And she slipped through their fingers, and through Praveen's helpless fingers. First her baby died, and then she died.

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