A report published this week by the Irish Health Information and Quality Authority into the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, the woman who died while seventeen weeks pregnant in an Irish hospital, has determined that she failed to receive the most basic of care and that numerous indicators of her deteriorating condition were missed by hospital staff. From the Irish Catholic :
Commenting on the publication of the investigation report, HIQAs Director of Regulation, Phelim Quinn, said: The investigation findings reflect a failure in the provision of the most basic elements of patient care to Savita Halappanavar. They identified a failure to recognise that she was developing an infection and then a failure to act on the signs of her clinical deterioration in a timely and appropriate manner. The investigation also identified a number of missed opportunities to intervene in her care which, if they had been acted upon, may have resulted in a different outcome for Savita Halappanavar.”
The report confirms conclusions from a previous inquiry by the Health Service Executive, Ireland’s National Health Service, that lack of proper care and monitoring was the cause of Ms. Halappanavar’s death. Dr. Ruth Cullen of the Irish Pro-Life Campaign commented :
We now know from todays HIQA report and earlier reports that this story was never really about abortion and that the key issues in the death of Ms Halappanavar were basic deficiencies in patient care and the catalogue of failures in monitoring and recognizing the grave risk to her life.
Ms. Halappanavar’s death was blamed by many in the Irish press on Ireland’s restrictive abortion law and the case was the catalyst for the introduction this past June of the woefully misnamed Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act, a law liberalizing abortion on the grounds of protecting the life and health, including mental health, of the mother. Despite considerable popular protest and conflicting evidence from medical professionals, the government insisted the legislation be passed before the summer recess and forced the legislation through parliament, denying members of parliament a free “conscience” vote and expelling the handful of dissenting pro-life members from the chief government party, Fine Gael.