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Woman 'refused' abortion, succumbs to death

14 November 2012, 14:27

Dublin Ireland - 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.

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.


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 Halappanavar's family.

In a statement the group said its inquiry into 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.



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