ONTD Political

Savita: Draft report details litany of failures

12:33 am - 02/15/2013

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.


tabaqui 15th-Feb-2013 04:16 am (UTC)
Jayzus. That's just...fucking horrible.
tigerdreams 15th-Feb-2013 06:52 am (UTC)
She died four days after the foetal heartbeat stopped. An autopsy found Ms Halappanavar had died of septicaemia.

They left a dead fetus inside her for FOUR DAYS?! Everybody who was part of that decision-making process and thought that was a good course of action should face wrongful-death charges.
madwitch 15th-Feb-2013 12:09 pm (UTC)
As I remember from the initial reports, they did remove the foetus once the fetal heartbeat stopped. However, by that point Savita had been miscarrying for days and was already critically ill.
tigerdreams 15th-Feb-2013 02:26 pm (UTC)
Okay; it's been a while since I read the original article we had on this case, so I wasn't sure. Still, though, once they'd passed the point where something was going irrevocably wrong, it was morally incumbent upon those involved to act to maximize the chances of survival for the woman, who could still have been saved. Once someone "is miscarrying," you don't just sit on your hands and hope the process reverses itself. I just... I still find this whole incident unfathomable.
madwitch 15th-Feb-2013 02:57 pm (UTC)
Yes, you're completely right. But the law in Ireland as it currently stands means that cases like this (and others, which have started to come out since Savita's death) will continue to happen, as there is no legislation protecting the mother's right to life. There should be. There is meant to be. But as it is, it's possible that any doctor performing an abortion, even in these circumstances, risks imprisonment.

Getting the law ion place is the first step to stopping this from happening again. Not that it's proving simple to do that. It's pretty much fucked up.
kittenmommy 16th-Feb-2013 02:49 am (UTC)

But as it is, it's possible that any doctor performing an abortion, even in these circumstances, risks imprisonment.

If the fetus is dead, how can it be an abortion?
madwitch 16th-Feb-2013 02:59 am (UTC)
If there is a fetal heartbeat, then that could be counted as an abortion. It mentions in the article that they did nothing until the heartbeat stopped, by which time it was too late. A termination should have been done straight away.
kittenmommy 16th-Feb-2013 05:45 pm (UTC)

I see.

That's just horrible. An unborn fetus that won't survive anyway takes precedence over the actual living woman. I don't even understand how that sort of stance can be "pro-life", because the woman's life certainly isn't valued.
madwitch 16th-Feb-2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
This isn't the only case. I know of others, of women being unable to have treatment that would abort the foetus and dying as a result. The right of the foetus to life is enshrined in Irish law, the right of the mother to life isn't. This is why people are demanding legislation on the X case, so it will be.

The fact that you have to fucking legislate for a woman's right to life...I mean fucking really.
kittenmommy 16th-Feb-2013 06:10 pm (UTC)

Actual, living people have less value than a clump of cells that will never become an actual, living person and will in fact end up causing the death of an actual, living person.

I'm shocked that this actually has to be legislated, because wow. Women have less value than a clump of dying cells.

keestone 15th-Feb-2013 02:06 pm (UTC)
I wonder if they'll also find that aside from the chronic overcrowding and the fact that doctors were hesitant to abort because of lack of legislation regarding the X case being a factor, decisions were made by overtired junior doctors who were just too exhausted not to make mistakes? (Not to mention, when you have to reapply for your job every six months, you're a lot less likely to be willing to perform a procedure that could get you in trouble because its legality is dubious.)

“Somebody is going to get something wrong that they wouldn’t have otherwise because they are exhausted.”

“You’re just trying to fill out something like a drug card or an X-ray request and everything is much more laborious . . . you fill out a form and it comes back saying you didn’t sign this. If you take it that we have thousands of doctors in the country doing these kind of hours, surely there has to be risk there.”


There is so much in the Irish medical system needing reform, and most of it is tied up in the politics of the same party that brought about the bank crisis.

(edited for punctuation fail)

Edited at 2013-02-15 02:09 pm (UTC)
maynardsong 15th-Feb-2013 04:19 pm (UTC)
India is supposedly backwards on women's rights but in any hospital there? They would have hauled ass to perform the damn abortion. No one ever argues with the assumption that the pregnant woman's life supersedes the foetus'.
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