Ireland's health watchdog to investigate death of Savita Halappanavar

Ireland's health watchdog to investigate death of Savita Halappanavar
London:  Ireland's health watchdog will begin a probe into the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died after being refused an abortion, two days after the government said it will legalise abortions when the mother's life is at risk.

Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), a government-funded healthcare agency in Ireland will complete and publish its investigation into the death of 31-year-old Savita as soon as possible, spokesman of the agency announced yesterday.

The authority had begun its preparatory work for the investigation this week, as soon as the members of the investigating team had been approved, he said.

A consultant midwife, consultant obstetrician and two microbiologists will be among those on the eleven-person team, one further person is to be appointed and details of this will be published shortly, he said.

According to a report in The Irish Times, the investigating team has been charged to look into the safety of HSE services to patients, including pregnant women, "at risk of deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar".

The authority has said it will publish the findings of its inquiry.

Savita died at Galway University Hospital on October 28, having presented on October 21 with severe backpain. She was 17-weeks pregnant and was found to be miscarrying. Her husband Praveen said she asked repeatedly for a termination of the pregnancy but was refused and was told the foetal heartbeat was still present and "this is a Catholic country". She contracted septicaemia and died on October 28.

Story First Published: December 20, 2012 08:16 IST

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