Sorry, no can do

The Galway Independent gives a very detailed account of Praveen Halappanavar’s testimony to the inquest today.

On Sunday, they were told the fetus would not survive.

Mr Halappanavar said that he could hear his wife crying and, on returning to the room, was told that there had been some cervical dilation and the foetus would not survive. He said that they had asked if the baby could be saved by putting in stitches but were told that this was not possible.

But waiting around for no reason, giving infection a chance to set in – that was possible.


On Monday morning, Mr Halappanavar said that Savita was taken for an ultrasound and started to cry when she saw the monitor. He claims that he and his wife then had a conversation with the consultant, Dr Katherine Astbury, in which Savita said she couldn’t take waiting for her baby to die and requested a termination. He said he was then told that, as the foetus was still alive, the pregnancy could not be terminated.

Mr Halappanavar said his wife asked if there was anything that could be done to speed up the labour process and Dr Astbury agreed to check and come back to them to discuss later.

The next day

He went on to claim that he and Savita had another conversation with Dr Astbury, in which they were told that the pregnancy could not be terminated, as Ireland was a Catholic country. He said that Savita argued that she was of Hindu faith and was not an Irish citizen and should therefore should be allowed to proceed with a termination but Dr Astbury said “sorry” and left the room.

And on it went, pointlessly, until she was dead.

As no threat to Savita’s life

The inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar has begun in Galway. Today Praveen Halappanavar testified.

The Sunday it all went wrong, they were told Savita’s cervix was dilated and she would miscarry.

Mr Halappanavar said they were both shattered on hearing this news and his wife asked repeatedly why this was happening to her. They were told it would all be over in a few hours when she miscarried.

On Monday October 23rd her obstetrician Dr Katharine Astbury sent Ms Halappanaver for an ultrasound. Dr Astbury told her that “unfortunately” the foetus was still alive, Mr Halappanavar said.

He said the couple asked Dr Astbury for a termination but she told them this was not possible.

Fergal Bowers, health correspondent for RTE, who is live-tweeting the inquest, said Dr Astbury said there was no danger on Tuesday.

Inquest: Consultant obs, Dr Katherine Astbury will say termination not warranted on Tues Oct 23, as no threat to #Savita‘s life.

Really? Because what I learned from a lot of sources – medical sources, especially Dr Jen Gunter on Twitter – is that that’s just flat-out false: a protracted miscarriage is always dangerous. Period. There isn’t ambiguity about it. A dilated cervix is an open door to infection.

So if that’s going to be the line that Astbury takes…it looks like admitting stark malpractice. Or perhaps, more frighteningly, that Irish hospitals allow their standard of care to be warped by Catholic “teachings.”

Review the arrangements

Catching up on the news about Savita Halappanavar…

They’ve noticed that what happened to her probably happens to other women. (Ya think?)

The Health Information and Quality Authority may have to establish a further investigation into how pregnant women who are getting increasingly ill are cared for in Irish hospitals, following its inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar.

The authority, which this afternoon published the terms of reference for its investigation into the death of the 31 year-old pregnant woman at Galway University Hospital last month, said if it emerged that there may be “serious risks” to any other woman in a similar situation in the future, it may recommend “further investigation or ..a new [one] “. [Read more…]