Woman Dies After Abortion Request 'Refused'

by
staff
The death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant is the subject of two investigations at University Hospital Galway in the Republic of Ireland.

 Halappanavar's family she asked several times for her pregnancy to be terminated because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying.  Her family claimed it was refused because there was a foetal heartbeat. She died on 28 October.  An autopsy carried out two days later found she had died from septicaemia.  Ms Halappanavar, who was 31, was a dentist.  Her husband, Praveen, told the Irish Times that medical staff said his wife could not have an abortion because Ireland was a Catholic country and the foetus was still alive.  University Hospital Galway is to carry out an internal investigation. It said it could not comment on individual cases but would be cooperating fully with the coroner's inquest into Ms Halappanavar's death. Funeral  The Health Service Executive has launched a separate investigation.  Ms Halappanavar and her husband, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, are originally from India.  Mr Halappanavar is still in India after accompanying his wife's body there for her funeral.  He told the Irish Times: "Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby.  "When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning, Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy.  "The consultant said, 'As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can't do anything'."  The Galway Roscommon University Hospitals Group said it extended its sympathies to Ms Halappanavar's family.  In a statement the group said its inquiry into Ms Halappanavar's death had not started yet because the hospital was waiting to consult with the family.  "In general in relation to media enquiries about issues where there may be onward legal action, we must reserve our position on what action we may take if assertions about a patient's care are published and we cannot speak for individual doctors or other medical professionals if a report were to name or identify any," it said.  Abortion is illegal in the Republic except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother.  The Irish government in January established a 14-member expert group to make recommendations based on a 2010 European Court of Human Rights judgment that the state failed to implement existing rights to lawful abortion where a mother's life was at risk.  A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that the group was due to report back to the Minister for Health James Reilly shortly.  "The minister will consider the group's report and subsequently submit it to government," the spokesperson said. 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The death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant is the subject of two investigations at University Hospital Galway in the Republic of Ireland.

Savita Halappanavar's family she asked several times for her pregnancy to be terminated because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying.

Her family claimed it was refused because there was a foetal heartbeat. She died on 28 October.

An autopsy carried out two days later found she had died from septicaemia.

Ms Halappanavar, who was 31, was a dentist.

Her husband, Praveen, told the Irish Times that medical staff said his wife could not have an abortion because Ireland was a Catholic country and the foetus was still alive.

University Hospital Galway is to carry out an internal investigation. It said it could not comment on individual cases but would be cooperating fully with the coroner's inquest into Ms Halappanavar's death.

Funeral

The Health Service Executive has launched a separate investigation.

Ms Halappanavar and her husband, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, are originally from India.

Mr Halappanavar is still in India after accompanying his wife's body there for her funeral.

He told the Irish Times: "Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby.

"When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning, Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy.

"The consultant said, 'As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can't do anything'."

The Galway Roscommon University Hospitals Group said it extended its sympathies to Ms Halappanavar's family.

In a statement the group said its inquiry into Ms Halappanavar's death had not started yet because the hospital was waiting to consult with the family.

"In general in relation to media enquiries about issues where there may be onward legal action, we must reserve our position on what action we may take if assertions about a patient's care are published and we cannot speak for individual doctors or other medical professionals if a report were to name or identify any," it said.

Abortion is illegal in the Republic except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother.

The Irish government in January established a 14-member expert group to make recommendations based on a 2010 European Court of Human Rights judgment that the state failed to implement existing rights to lawful abortion where a mother's life was at risk.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that the group was due to report back to the Minister for Health James Reilly shortly.

"The minister will consider the group's report and subsequently submit it to government," the spokesperson said.