The jury in the Savita Halappanavar inquest today returned a verdict confirming what pro-life advocates in Ireland have said all along: the fact that Halappanavar did not have an abortion did not claim her life.
The report said a “medical misadventure” resulted in her death. Serious ‘systems failures’ and deficiencies in her medical management by staff were highlighted by the Coroner Dr. Ciaran McLoughlin. He made nine recommendations to deal with the deficiencies all of which were adopted by the jury. One of these was that the Medical Council (which governs doctors in Ireland) should draw up clearer Guidelines for doctors treating pregnant women.
Commenting on the inquest verdict, Dr Berry Kiely of the Pro Life Campaign said: “We welcome all the recommendations from the inquest, including the call for Guidelines providing clarity for doctors in relation to medical interventions for women in pregnancy, which may result in the unintended loss of the baby.”
Kiely described as “little short of shameless” the manner in which those seeking the introduction of abortion legislation based on the X case ruling have exploited the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar all along, claiming that the failure to bring in such legislation was what led to Ms Halappanavar’s death.
“It is now clear from the facts presented at the inquest,” Dr Kiely stated, “that a number of what the inquest terms ‘systems failures’ and communications shortcomings significantly delayed the moment at which the medical team recognized the seriousness of her condition and carried out the appropriate medical intervention.”
“It is disturbing,” she said, “that those calling for abortion legislation never point out that no medical evidence whatsoever was heard in the X case.”
“The recent Oireachtas hearings, however, heard unanimous and authoritative evidence that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal ideation. Not only that, but the international evidence shows that legislation based on mental health and suicide grounds has invariably led to abortion virtually on demand,” the pro-life leader added.
Kiely acknowledged how difficult and upsetting the experience of the Inquest must have been for Savita’s husband, Praveen Halappanavar.
“I hope that the manner in which the Inquest was conducted has brought clarity to the events which led to the tragic death of his wife,” she said.
According to a report in the Irish Times, one medical expert indicated Savita died as a result of a horrible case of sepsis.
A retired medical consultant told the Savita Halappanavar inquest in Galway on Thursday that in a career of more than 30 years he had never seen as severe a case of sepsis in a mother as in the case of Ms Halappanavar.
Ms Halappanavar (31) died at University Hospital Galway on October 28th last following a miscarriage. She had been 17 weeks pregnant.
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Dr Peter Kelehan, a retired consultant in mother and baby pathology at the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street, Dublin, reviewed the slides from the postmortem.
He agreed with two other deponents, one of whom was not present in court yesterday, that Ms Halappanavar died as a result of septic shock, causing multi-organ failure, due to the contraction of a particularly virulent form of E.coli, with her miscarriage an additional factor.