Legislative or medical neglect?

Tomorrow’s Irish Times and Irish Independent.

Covers via Mike Hogan

Women Denied A Termination’ Dies In Hospital (Kitty Holland and Paul Cullen, Irish Times)

Two Investigations Into Death Of Woman After Galway Miscarriage (RTE)

Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died of septicaemia a week after presenting with back pain on 21 October at University hospital in Galway, where she was found to be miscarrying.
After the 31-year-old dentist was told that she was miscarrying, her husband reportedly said that she had asked for a medical termination a number of times over a three day period, during which she was in severe pain.
But he said these requests were denied because a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told at one point: “This is a Catholic country.”
Medical staff removed the dead foetus days later after the heartbeat stopped but Halappanavar died of septicaemia on 28 October.

Scandal In Ireland As Woman Dies in Galway ‘After Being Denied Abortion’ (Guardian)

193 thoughts on “Why?

  1. Stephanie Fleming

    Bloody travesty. I’m furious. Pro-life my arse.

    Youth Defence and their ilk are simply reprehensible.

    1. well

      As reprehensible as they are it’s our goverment dragging their feet on the issue listening to them.

      Youth Defence are a voice for loud biggoted minority that shouldn’t have anymore clout.

    2. ABM

      You’re not privy to the full facts of the case. Just because an article with a heavily pro-choice slant surfaces on a slow news day doesn’t mean everything wasn’t done to save the life of the mother and her child. An abortion wouldn’t have necessarily saved the life of the mother. An abortion would have necessarily killed the baby whose heart was still pumping. Tragic case and RIP to both mother and child. I have no doubt that the medical staff acted to give the best care possible at every stage.

      1. Sinabhfuil

        Tragically, this mother’s baby was going to die whether aborted or not. The mother could have been saved – should have been saved.

        The Irish people voted years ago in a referendum to allow abortion when the mother’s life was at risk. No legislation followed, as far as I know.

        It’s time for another referendum, that simply asks voters to decide whether abortions can be performed in Ireland.

      2. Formerly known as @ireland.com

        ABM – you don’t care about the facts. You are nutty christian fundamentalist. Why don’t you stick with standing up for paedophiles.

      3. Jess

        She was miscarrying! There’s no going back at that point, the foetus was as good as dead already but the doctors stood back and let her die because of the legislative grey-area mess that is this country’s abortion laws. It’s absolutely reprehensible and even you should be ashamed of yourself for defending the people who let her die.

      4. Irrelevant

        How dare you try to sympathise with the victim of this after the disgusting pro-life rhetoric that you and your ilk peddle.

        Your views caused this. Own it.

      5. Nigel

        This? This right here? This is when you all finally f**king lose. Your pious, sanctimonious grief is a bone in our throat.

        1. Leela2011

          ABM. did you read the article? it took days for the foetus to die, why would the media make that up?? While the foetus was dying, this poor woman was in agony, slowly dying and her poor husband had to watch on, helpless. There was ample time to try and save her.

          I wonder in this case if they approached the courts for advice. Compare it to cases of Jehovah’s witnesses being given blood transfusions against their or families wishes…

      6. PhilJo

        Seeing as the 2 enquires are being conducted by the hospital itself and the HSE, I’m sure the facts will come out in a clear an unambiguous manner

  2. MrTony

    Our abortion laws are a total embarrassment. People will look back on this era in a few decades and wonder how we were still in this situation – it’s so backward. There’s countries in Africa with more modern, forward thinking abortion laws than us.

      1. Sinabhfuil

        Zambia permits abortion on socioeconomic grounds, and Cape Verde, South Africa and Tunisia allow pregnancy termi- nation without restriction as to reason, but with gestational limits.
        In 2005, Ethiopia expanded its abortion law—which had previously allowed the proce- dure only to save the life of a woman or protect her physical health—to also allow abortion in cases of rape, incest or fetal impairment. In addition, it permits a woman to terminate a pregnancy if she is unable to raise the child, owing to her status as a minor or to a physi- cal or mental infirmity

        1. Emma

          I work in developing countries and haven’t been to many that have abortion laws as outdated and inhumane as ours.

        1. Emma

          I am not equating Africa with backwardness, I am equating it with health systems that are (Perhaps ostensibly) not as advanced as European ones.

  3. Dr D

    Whilst this is clearly going to be a major issue in the public domain over the next few days and weeks, it’s important that there is a balance here. The most significant thing is that two lives have been tragically lost. My thoughts are with the family.

    It’s also important though not to create scapegoats or apportion blame…

    Suggesting that medical neglect may have been involved is extremely and unnecessarily harsh on the doctors and nursing staff who are no doubt extremely upset at the tragic outcome here. These professionals, for the time being are unable to make any defence of themselves, so a little sensitivity should be shown

      1. Dr D

        To suggest that the loss of one life was avoidable would require fairly intimate knowledge of the case. If you are possessed of such knowledge Stephanie, I’m sure you’ll realise that discussing it on a very open forum is inadvisable.

        1. Stephanie Fleming

          Savita Praveen was miscarrying and was forced to continue to do so over a course of three days with an open cervix which is an extremely high infection risk. All because a foetal heartbeat was still detectable. If the process of labour had been ended when it the first miscarriage diagnosis was made that risk would have been massively reduced.

          If you want to discuss philosophical absolutes and hypotheticals lets do so some time when I’m not quite so f**king furious. Apologies for the swearing but I am at my bloody limit.

          1. B Bop

            Clarified exactly Stephanie, THIS despicable grey area of No abortions / maybe an abortion with legal consequences disgusts me about this country of whom I love so much…we’re so backward on this.
            Draconian women’s rights & no gay marriage = basic HUMAN rights a must.

        2. Kath

          “To suggest that the loss of one life was avoidable would require fairly intimate knowledge of the case.”

          No, it doesn’t. It does, however, require a working, independent intelligence and the ability to connect the dots between a woman suffering a miscarriage, asking and being denied a medical procedure and developing a fatal case of septicaemia.

          But nice job trying to manipulate people into thinking they haven’t been given enough details to make an informed opinion.

          Its a lot easier to manage the flock if you can convince them they shouldn’t think for themselves, right?

          “If you are possessed of such knowledge Stephanie, I’m sure you’ll realise that discussing it on a very open forum is inadvisable.”

          Is this your attempt at a veiled threat or just you trying to silence someone who doesn’t share your opinion?

          Either way, I don’t really care. Because your day, the day of a handful of knuckle-dragging bigots holding sway over the citizens of this country is over. Do you hear that? Its the death knell of backward dogmatic subservience in this country.

          1. Dr D

            Where’s the bigot thing coming from? In all fairness, I, like a lot of doctors would probably favour more clarity in legislation, but in any event I haven’t and wouldn’t express any trenchant views either in favour of or opposed to termination, largely because it is a nuanced argument and I think each case needs to be considered on it’s own merits.

            I think its fair enough to suggest not discussing a particular case until the facts are known in full. I’m not trying to silence anyone at all, just think that if someone has more knowledge about the case, given concerns over confidentiality and consent, it’s probably best not to publicise this.

            I think it would be reasonable to discuss things in generality, with reference to hypothetical cases.

            In any event termination at 17/40 is not simple, and a patient (not the one here) may be a difficult surgical candidate due to for example, shock, DIC, bleeding diathesis, infectious illness, coagulopathy etc

    1. Susan

      Usually when some fool comes along prating about not apportioning blame it’s a big sign that fault should be stringently apportioned, to the gibbering cowards that deserve it.

      Savita Happalanavar’s death was preventable. We need to own our own moral ducking and dodging and be ashamed for it. This is heartbreaking for her family and a disgrace to this rotten little nation, inasmuch as anything can be a disgrace to a place that is already so unlovely, morally immature and graceless already.

      May the poor woman rest in peace.

      1. Dr D

        Ah now. No need for the petty insults. I’m saying that people should be careful about suggesting negligence or inappropriate medical care is involved, as this could be defamatory, and the professionals involved cannot comment or defend themselves. Why not wait till the full facts are known, and then maybe look at where fault lies.

        Most in medicine and in life will realise that failure is rarely the fault of one person or organisation (the Swiss cheese model as proposed by Reason)

        Perhaps though we should invite all commenters on broadsheet named Susan to take the place of judge jury and executioner, after listening to maybe 10% of the available evidence.

        Thanks for the unnecessary and childish insults too. Enjoy your day.

        1. Susan

          Not certain whom I have defamed here, oh wait I am. Nobody.

          Not that I am overburdened with guilt, but this is not my site.

          And you are fortunate that you can ventilate at such length on having been called (gasp!) a fool. That seems more important to you than the fact that a life has been lost due to extreme moral cowardice and failure on the part of our people as a whole. So I will allow you your Moral High Ground since it appears to matter so much to you.

        2. Leela2011

          I agree that we cannot know 100% if Savita could have survived but what I take exception to is your comment ‘The most significant thing is that two lives have been tragically lost’. It is this equal weighting of the foetus’ life with hers that *appears* to have caused the delay in treatment. From non-medic point of view, we of course would imagine that if she was in such agony, shaking, vomiting, that something should have been done. Put yourself in this woman and her husbands shoes, what would you do???

          1. Dr D

            I honestly don’t know.

            What I do know is that no-one commenting on here is aware of the full facts.

            I don’t think any doctor would knowingly allow a woman to deteriorate into septic shock and die as a result of catholic beliefs. I just don’t think this case,or any similar case is so clear cut.

            Incidentally, susan, i didn’t suggest you defamed anybody in that particular post. In fairness, it won’t be pursued anyway, but I just think it’s unfair to apportion fault or blame at this stage.

            I’m not really bothered by being called a fool. It’s just a bit childish. And untrue (I’ve 4 degrees, a masters, 3 postgraduate diplomas and a membership exam proving that I’m right tbf)

            Also with regard to “two lives”. I’m not going to get into when one believes life is created – is it the limit of viability? Conception? I just don’t know, I just thought it was easier to suggest two lives were lost.

          2. Susan


            In response to “why am I being so rude”, firstly I have seen the “let’s look at both sides of the story” way too often and the point made too quickly. There seems to be a uniquely Irish obsession with fairness that often – surprise surprise – dances hand in hand with a reluctance to confront, judge and punish. Judgement and punishment seem like such ugly concepts, but they help bring sunlight and clarity where there is darkness and confusion. Anything has to be better than the emotional violence we as a frightened people inflict on ourselves, all to avoid necessary confrontation.

            What bewilders me about poster above is that I didn’t say a word about the – care – received by poor Ms Halappanavar or decisions made as I am still too stunned by the whole thing to have anything to comment. Though I certainly believe there is fault here.

            The disrespect afforded to Mr Halappanavar is also distressingly familiar in an Irish context. We’ve seen it exercised in the past by trolls on this very website.

          3. The Spirit of Broadsheet

            I think Ireland is more likely to make progress on this issue when we respond to each other with respect rather than name-calling.

  4. Dr D

    Incidentally, choppysixty6, there is no way of knowing whether this outcome could have been avoided. Unless you know more about the case than anyone else. In which case it’s probably not a good idea to post information on the internet tbf

    1. crimsonmoon251

      Judging by this it could have been avoided if there was legislation in place that made it clear that the removal of the fetus was allowed because the life of the mother was in danger:

      Galway Pro-Choice
      For Release: Woman Dies in UCHG after Being Denied a Life-Saving Abortion

      On Sunday the 28th of October, Savita Praveen died at UCHG after being denied a termination which would most likely have saved her life. She was 31 years old, married for four years and hoping to start a family.

      If legislation is not introduced immediately, more women will die. Under the X Case ruling, women in Ireland are legally entitled to an abortion when it is necessary to save their life. However, legislation has never been passed to reflect this. It is the failure of successive governments to do so that led to Savita’s death.

      Savita was first admitted to the hospital on October 21st complaining of severe back pain. Her doctor initially told her that she would be fine, but she refused to go home. It became clear that her waters had broken, and she was having a miscarriage (spontaneous abortion). She was told that the foetus had no chance of survival, and it would all be over within a few hours.

      However, her condition did not take its expected course, and the foetus remained inside her body. Although it was evident that it could not survive, a foetal heartbeat was detected. For this reason her repeated requests to remove the foetus were denied. By Tuesday it was clear that her condition was deteriorating. She had developed a fever, and collapsed when attempting to walk. The cervix had now been fully open for nearly 72 hours, creating a danger of infection comparable to an untreated open head wound. She developed septicaemia.

      Despite this, the foetus was not removed until Wednesday afternoon, after the foetal heartbeat had stopped. Immediately after the procedure she was taken to the high dependency unit. Her condition never improved. She died at 1.09am on Sunday the 28th of October.

      Had the foetus been removed when it became clear that it could not survive, her cervix would have been closed and her chance of infection dramatically reduced. Leaving a woman’s cervix open constitutes a clear risk to her life. What is unclear is how doctors are expected to act in this situation.

      Rachel Donnelly, Galway Pro-Choice spokesperson stated:
      “This was an obstetric emergency which should have been dealt with in a routine manner. Yet Irish doctors are restrained from making obvious medical decisions by a fear of potentially severe consequences. As the European Court of Human Rights ruled, as long as the 1861 Act remains in place, alongside a complete political unwillingness to touch the issue, pregnant women will continue to be unsafe in this country.”

      Sarah McCarthy, Galway Pro-Choice member said:
      “Galway Pro-Choice believes that Ireland must legislate for freely available abortion for all women. Deaths like Savita’s are the most severe consequence of the criminalisation of abortion, yet it has countless adverse effects. We must reflect long and hard on the implications of Savita’s tragic and untimely passing, and we must act to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.”

      For more information please contact Galway Pro-Choice on 087 706 0715 or Sarah McCarthy on 085 7477 907

      1. Dr D

        I’m not suggesting the the information from the pro-choice group is biased to serve a purpose, but it’s definitely incomplete…questions such as whether the patient was in septic shock, or otherwise unsuitable for surgery, remain.

        In addition to many other questions, which should only be addressed in an appropriate forum tbf

        1. Leela2011

          @Dr D, yes seems like there may be other issues that we as non-medics may not understand – as you say, complications from septic shock etc. I think there are two issues here, lack of clear legislation and whether there was malpractice. I think the only thing we should be debating is the lack of legislation at this stage

        2. pans

          The family was told at one point: “This is a Catholic country”. We can’t say that that was the exact reason why the hospital wouldn’t carry out the abortion – as you say – we are not aware of all the facts. Don’t see them rushing out to make a statement about the complications you guess were involved though.

          1. Dr D

            If anyone in the hospital came out to discuss the case they would be in fairly serious trouble due to breach of patient confidentiality.

            I would imagine all involved with the case are fairly traumatised and presenting only one side is a bit unfair. The facts may emerge.

            I note that the indo says today that the patient was taken to theatre to get a line in.

            Not commenting further on this case, but if anyone suggesting I’m a bigot or trying to suggest that I’m trying to further an agenda would like to explain why a patient would go to theatre to have a line put in, I’d like to hear it.

            My own experience is that a patient requiring central access is likely to be critically ill, most likely with severe hypotension, therefore making any surgical intervention and in particular anaesthesia fraught with danger.

    2. KeithFahey’s Moustache

      Well we are never sure if any medical intervention will work but it is better than taking the lets just see what happens approach that appears to have been applied here.

      Regardless of the details this woman would have stood a significantly higher survival rate had doctors intervened. The chance of the unborn surviving was already decided regardless of any medical intervention.

      So this should have been a no-brainer and the Doctors should have acted.

  5. Choppysixty6

    @ Dr D I’m sorry I don’t mean to offend anyone by my post it just seemed from the headlines that perhaps it could have been avoided .
    Most importantly it’s just a very sad outcome for all involved

  6. Termagant

    Ah sure it’s all part of God’s plan lads, nothing wrong with the state forcing forcing outdated beliefs on an unwilling populace, builds character.

    1. Bangalore


      Just a few weeks ago on the pro choice march people appealed to legislate before someone died.

      Blood is on the hands of all the politicians who delayed bringing this in, who rejected Clare Daly’s private members bill for their own political grandstanding.

  7. baa

    Holy shit, I know they usually get a bashing from BS but fair play for the papers for getting this out there. Some discussion is needed.

    Now some discussion on the HSE cuts to organisations providing services to the intellectually disabled please.

    1. D

      Irony is Irish people spent the last few months asking how Americans could vote for regressive Republican candidates in the US election but they don’t look at the regressive legislation on their own doorstep.

      1. Ella

        These days I focus on feeling more ashamed that we let the other crowd call themselves Irish. Petty, but it takes some of the hopelessness out of the incandescent rage. I don’t want to be ashamed. I want every pro-lifer in the country to be crippled by shame instead.

        1. Jess

          Oh, I do wish they were too. This story has gone international though, provoking outcry and horror worldwide, and people keep asking – how can the Irish let this kind of thing happen in their own country?

          That we haven’t managed to wring the much-needed legislation for X out of our elected governments in the 20 years since that case is shameful.

  8. Thepox

    Dr D I don’t know what your agenda is or if you’re even a doctor, but reading ye piece it is obvious that there was failure of what is commonly called “source control” meaning the source of the infection was not removed and as a result the infection could not be controlled. In this case it was the products of conception ie the foetus amniotic fluid placenta etc. while it cannot be said with certainty that she wouldn’t have died if a termination was performed her chances of a good outcome would have been significantly improved.

    1. Dr D

      I agree that source control would likely be preferable. However, that’s not the same as saying that the deaths were avoidable.

      I have no agenda though. I don’t have a particular stance on abortion and think each case should be taken on it’s individual merits.

      What concerns me though is people thinking that they are appraised of the full facts, when this is clearly not true.

      1. Dr D

        I think really that it seems probable that there was a failing at some point along the line, we shouldn’t start apportioning blame.

        I’ve worked in situations in this country where cervical cerclage failed and delivery was performed by CS at 20 weeks, with no resus carried out.

        During twelve years (and counting) working in the public health service, I’ve never once seen any doctor try to impose religious views on a patient. I suspect that there is some imposition of religious ethos via ethics committees but I would find it difficult to comprehend a doctor threatening his career and fitness to practice in such a way.

        There may well have been individual failures, but it’s hard to see with certainty what went on, and unfortunately for the family and anyone involved with the case, i suspect that it will be used to further the agenda of some and reopen a debate which is desperately polarised and which brings out the worst in many people.

        1. Ellybabes

          The simple fact is that she asked *three* times for an abortion. Savita was a dentist, she was therefore highly educated and would know the medical risks. Three times she was denied a procedure that *might* have saved her life, but would *certainly* have improved her better chances.

          That’s what we are all pissed off about – it’s a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. It shouldn’t be anyone else’s choice.

          It’s exactly the same as if a patient was diagnosed with a tumor. It’s the patient’s choice if they want to treat it or not. As simple as that.

          1. Dr D

            Again I’ll point out that it is rarely “simple”.

            To suggest that a dentist would be more aware of the risks associated with PPROM than a consultant obstetrician is also a little odd and scarcely credible

  9. Christina

    I am ashamed of my country. I have never been genuinely ashamed of my country and its people before. I am tonight.
    My country has let a woman die. My country values the potential life in her womb more that it values a woman. I say potential life because that’s what I believe an embryo and foetus is. I don’t think it’s just a bundle of cells, but neither is it a human being. Not like this woman was.
    I know almost nothing about this woman. I know she was married. I know she was pregnant. I know she is dead.
    And my country killed her.
    In my naivety, I didn’t think this would happen. I thought that the doctors would find a way around it. A loophole in the law. They didn’t. They let her die.
    The Government has blood on its hands tonight. Youth Defence has blood on its hands tonight. We all have blood on our hands tonight.
    All of us who voted against abortion in past referenda, all of us who abstained, all of us who spoiled our vote, all of us who didn’t scream at the top of our lungs outside the Four Courts at the terrible alphabet of cases paraded before it.
    My country killed a woman.

    1. Tony

      ‘I have never been genuinely ashamed of my country and its people before’ – really? All the sex abuse scandals where the state and the church ignored what was going on didn’t make you be ashamed to be Irish? The way our previous government destroyed our economy didn’t make you ashamed to be Irish? The fact we practically give away our oil with very little benefit to our citizenry doesn’t make you ashamed to be Irish? The fact Dev gave his condolences to the German people on the Death of Hitler is another good reason to be ashamed, as is the fact our Government sheltered war criminals because ‘they were good catholics’. This definitely is a horrible story but it’s not the only bad thing about Irish Society, don’t get me wrong we have a lot of positives but I find it hard to believe this is the only time someone is ashamed to be Irish.

      1. Damo

        I came here to say what Christina said. But you, Tony, are correct also, except, I actually can’t see any positives at all. I’ve just had a moment of clarity. There is nothing about what it means to be Irish, from society to politics to religion (am athiest), that I can identify with. I’ve got an Irish accent and an Irish passport and if I could change those (neutral accent, a ‘Person’ passport), I would.

        I’ll think I’ll emigrate, not for economic reasons (I don’t need to), but simply because this place it a total backwards shithole in every respect.

        Now just to figure out where to go.

        1. Tony

          I’m bringing my wife and two kids to Australia next year. We are both still working and don’t need to go. But, I will not be bringing my children up in this country.

          Still very little choice for schools, none in the area I live in. I will not let them be subjected to religious mumbo-jumbo. I always thought things would change in this country when the older religious generation just died off.

        2. Bangalore

          I understand you want the best for your family but the problem is that everyone that wants change is leaving, so nothing is changing.

          1. Susan

            Oh Bangalore

            I totally understand what you mean. I am torn myself. I tried a lot of things campaigning last winter but while I got some good vibes, there was a lot of being censored and edited and patronised and told off and got called a creative writer for pointing out the truth. Fundamentally, I feel and am powerless in this country. I realise that in order to start advocacy I must first gain power – social, artistic, whatever. But gaining power takes time and soiling myself by remaining in this noxious country is not helping.

            I agree with Damo and Tony and I agree with you. I wonder will I fight, or is there any point. The powerful interests are embedded and entrenched here.

      2. Parp

        I’ve never been ashamed to be Irish and I’m still not. This, and all the other things you mentioned weren’t done by my hands, and they weren’t done in my name. Being Irish is like saying being a man, or being a human, or being right handed, or having blue eyes. Just because other people have similar traits does not make me responsible for their actions, I am my own person.

    2. Procrasto

      never been genuinely ashamed before this? this is awful, totally repugnant and completely abhorrent. But in saying that, how could you not be genuinely ashamed to date when we have given up all our economic sovereignty because our governments have for generations been clearly so incompetent?

  10. AndyC

    I have never been so ashamed to be pro-choice.
    Galway Pro-Choice using this tragedy for political points sickens me to the core. Seems to me this is yet another example of shoddy journalism, printing a story without all the facts. If this is not proved to be clear-cut medical malpractice I think this story and the response from irresponsible people in the PC movement will set back the chances of ever having legal abortion in this country. Have a bit of respect for the victims in this.
    Just my two cents

    1. Jack

      I don’t think the pro-choice organisations have acted in appropriately, and even if they had compared to the abhorant behavious of the prolifers they are positively angelic (no pun intended)

      1. simon magus

        So is it wrong for her husband to question how something like this could ever happen and plead for it not to be allowed happen again? Is he exploiting the situation. Is he not ‘fully aware of the facts’? Open your eyes. His wife almost certainly died needlessly. It is not a case of the pro-choice campaign exploiting someone’s death, it’s a matter of life and death. If proper legislation were in place, this person’s life may have been saved. http://www.irishtimes.com/audio/2012/11/savita.mp3

  11. Jonathan

    Pardon my ignorance here, but irrespective of what changes should/shouldn’t be made in Ireland re:abortion (I am pro-choice myself), it seems like, in this particular case, under the law as it stands, an abortion would/should have been allowed to take place – as it would have been an intervention required to save the mother’s life…?!

  12. Rebet Momter

    This is obviously a great tragedy and shows once more the need for legislation in this area.

    Though this is clearly an emotive case, I agree with other commenters re jumping to conclusions as to whether this woman’s life could have been saved. Not all the facts are known about this case. My (very limited) understanding is that septicaemia is known to result from miscarriages, a phenomenon observed even in countries where abortion is a possibility. Also, the autopsy also listed E.coli as a cause of death. Finally, for those who have quoted the statement of the Galway Pro Choice organisation, which suggests a definite causative link between the absence of a right to abortion and Ms. Halappanavar’s death. Further and less partial evidence would surely be required to truly establish such a claim.

  13. ray

    rip to that poor woman.

    another reason to leave this shithole of a country.

    Anyone know the name of the Doctor who said “This is a Catholic Country”?

    1. ABM

      “this is a catholic country” sounds like a quote taken out of context to me. Bad journalism if you ask me. Anyway, who said it’s a doctor who said this? A nurse could have said it. It could have been said in many different ways. Extrapolating this quote to mean all kinds of things is pure anti-Catholic bigotry. Par for the course on broadsheet.ie. The death of a woman is of course a perfect opportunity for such point-scoring.

      1. Yuphrum

        Why do you even come here anymore then.
        Or do you just love scouring the net for “anti-Catholic bigotry”?

      2. Formerly known as @ireland.com

        ABM – stand up for your sad church. Why don’t you get on the Australian websites, cos your church is taking a pasting – something to do with
        years of protecting people who rape children. I think that is a sin but hey, don’t the facts stop your church protecting their own and their fortune.

      3. Ray

        Point scoring? The woman is dead and the reason her cervix was left open for three days is because some medical professional said ‘we are a catholic country’. Perhaps it’s a good thing this wasn’t 30 years ago because the husband would probably have been rode by the local parish priest.
        We are not a catholic country. For some medical professional to say that must be a nightmare for this poor man.
        An idiot government with idiot doctors and idiot nurses working in a third rate medical system which is apparently being run under the doctrine of some medivial teaching.

      4. pans

        Ok, so give us an example of which context you think it was said in, and where it would have been appropriate in a medical situation?
        “A nurse could have said it.” – Does it matter who said it?
        “It could have been said in many different ways.” – Are you saying the husband was lying?

    2. Jack

      Isn’t it ironic that this non-catholic most likely died due to the cold misogynistic hand of the catholic church.

      I question the integrity and intellect of the medical professionals that hold so firmly to this dogma that they do not intersede to minimise the risk to a viable human life (i.e. the mother)

      1. Blobster

        It was only a matter of time before someone came straight out and said something as ridiculous as this.

        This woman died due to the catholic church. Literally fantastical.

        1. Nigel

          Personally, I have no problem attributing this to the legacy of the Catholic Church, barring other information coming to light. The lack of decisive government action for decades is also part of that legacy. I do not necessarily distinguish between the hierarchy and the congregation. If the people did not support the teaching of the Church in significant numbers, It would not be a problem.

          1. Blobster

            When doctors save lives by following standard medical practice is that also due to the legacy of the catholic church? It must be, given that it has shaped medical practice to the extent that you and Tom (below) suggest.

          2. Nigel

            But this has nothing to do with medical procedures, and everything to do with the legal and ethical framework wherein those procedures are performed by health care professionals, and the strictures which appear to have forbidden what may have been a life-saving measure. That legal and ethical framework has been shaped by the social conservative mores of the Catholic Church and the people and citizens and politicians who oppose, not the introduction of abortion, but the freedom of the medical personnel to make the decision that might have saved the woman’s life in this case. It’s not even a question of blame. If the Catholics of this country want to oppose abortion to the extent that they will not even countenance the removal of a miscarrying foetus to increase the mother’s chances of survival, then they must stand behind what happened in that hospital and explain why it was right and just and proper.

  14. Yuphrum

    RIP to the poor woman and the child…

    *grabs a seat and some popcorn*
    Now to watch the shitstorm unfold

    1. lolly

      so you like to eat popcorn while you read about the death of a beautiful young woman with her whole life ahead of her?

      1. Yuphrum

        I have to laugh and make flippant comments like that to keep myself from crying at the pitifully easily avoidable situation this could have been were it not for the ‘greyness’ of our abortion laws.

        Also my popcorn comment was directed more at the prolife group trying to worm their way out by giving us BS statements like “The fact is we dont know the full facts” like ABM and Dr D have arrogantly spat out.
        Theres even a video still up on youtube this very moment from the Prolife group saying why abortion is never needed to save a womans life.

        Another nail in the coffin right there for the disgrace that is our country

        1. Dr D

          Ah here, don’t align me with prolife. I’ve never suggested that, I don’t know where that’s coming from.

          I will say that it does say in the paper today (indo) that the patient went to theatre to have a line put in.

          Again, I don’t like commenting on a specific case, but in a hypothetical case, where a patient requires central venous access, it could suggest difficulty obtaining peripheral access and thus hypotension. In that case, it may be prudent to administer antibiotics and inotropes in order to make surgery and anaesthesia a safer option.

          Also, if you’d like to point out anywhere where I’ve suggested I take a particular pro-life stance, I’d like to know about it. And I say that in an genuine way, not trying to be smart. I genuinely wouldn’t align myself with the prolife movement. Or the prochoice movement.

          I’m not sure what youtube video you refer to, but I think suggesting that abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life may be getting into semantics and the doctrine of double effect. I can explain further if you wish.

  15. lolly

    From colette browne in the Irish Examiner today –Currently, our politicians are engaged in an existential crisis about the awful prospect of having to legislate to allow women, whose lives are in danger, access to an abortion.

    Read that sentence again and really think about what it means. If you’re a man, think about your mother, sisters, wife, girlfriend and female friends. Would you prefer they die rather than have access to an abortion? Because that’s what this is all about. In this progressive European country, successive governments have steadfastly refused to introduce legislation that would allow women, who would otherwise die, access to life-saving medical treatment. Elsewhere in the Western World, such an odious public debate, displaying such a disgusting disregard for the lives of women, would be treated with the contempt it deserves.

  16. Wayne.F

    Ah but lads didn’t we get a seat on the UN Human rights council, sure we are a
    Great little country all together.

    Removing theAbortion element from the story this is a simple case of the HSE failing yet again. God I can’t wait to leave this island

        1. Dr D

          Again that’s an appalling accusation to make against a health professional. The doctors involved and midwives have cared for hundreds, perhaps thousands of patients at all times of the day and night. Missing Christmases, family weddings, funerals and dedicating their work and lives to the care of others. It’s incredibly unfair to tar them with the accusation of negligence without having all the available information. Perhaps you could explain to me what you know about PPROM, or sepsis?

          it’s also defamatory, but luckily most doctors wouldn’t pursue some keyboard warrior.

          1. Jess

            And yet a woman died fully a week after presenting with an extremely common problem – something went badly wrong there wrong, and if it wasn’t the fault of the hospital staff then I’m wondering what on earth else it could have been.

  17. Eithne

    I wonder how many Irish Catholic women, of all ages, among the staff and patients in University College Hospital Galway at this moment, have gone to the UK for abortions?

    Time to end this hypocrisy.

    May that beautiful young woman rest in peace. I am truly sorry that she died in such pain, fear and neglect.

    1. Susan

      Eithne, I believe it is time to end ALL hypocrisy and break the choke chain of the stratified elite that destroys the sanity, health and life of our younger generation.

      And all those who have perpetrated suppression and evil should be punished.

  18. Fat Frog

    I am sick with sadness over this. Those poor people. The fact that she suffered so terribly, lost her baby and died shows the cruelty and inhumanity of the current legislation. And to think that were she in another country her life would have been saved. It is shameful.

  19. Stephen

    I fully support the right to life of the unborn child. Yet this is inexcusable and the dieing child should have been terminated if it could have saved the life of this poor woman. God love her and her family. RIP.

  20. Barton Keyes

    Granted, we don’t know all the facts of the case. But even if abortion wouldn’t have helped this woman, having proper legislation in place would surely aid in making that decision also.
    As it is being reported, it appears the foetus was going to die anyway but the presence of a heartbeat is what prevented them from taking action. So on principle they couldn’t take action. And that principle seems to be misplaced when miscarriage seems inevitable. Who exactly is being protected in such a case? The foetus? For that matter, what was being protected in the Miss D case? The right to life of an anencephalic foetus, who was guaranteed to die by virtue of it’s condition.
    Protecting broad principles at the cost of actual people is simply immoral. While I accept the point made earlier that we do not know all the facts and perhaps should refrain from apportioning blame to some extent, we need legislation that allows judgements to be made on a case by case basis. In a case where the mother’s life is at risk abortion ought to be an option, in a case where the mother’s life is at risk and the death of the foetus is a foregone conclusion, there ought to be no question as to what the correct action is.

    1. Dr D

      Agreed. Also, I think the use of termination and abortion, particularly in this case could be a bit misleading, certainly very emotive. I wonder would there be as much outcry if the headlines were that the doctors didn’t perform a caesarean section?

      1. Ella

        If it transpired that there reason for failing to perform a caesarian was the result of state-imposed guidlelines prohibiting the procedure until the heartbeat of an unviable fetus stopped, why should one expect the response be any different?

        The emotive heart of this issue is not a reaction to dog-whistles. It’s the intellectual and moral paucity of current legislation on women’s health.

    2. Donal

      Very well stated Barton, I’m in 100% agreement with you and find it hard to believe that anyone reasonable and decent person could disagree.

  21. Spaghetti Hoop

    Shocking negligence by the medical team. At 17 weeks the foetus has zero chance of development, yet they kept that poor woman in agony for 3 days and exposed to infection, ultimately risking her life. Tragic.

  22. Blobster

    The death of this woman is a tragedy which, one would think, should not happen with the skills, expertise and equipment available to medical professionals in Ireland today. It should not. But people do, tragically die from all manner of causes and medical complications that leave us scratching our heads in disbelief.

    The tone of many comments on here (and some commentators have already appeared on radio barely, just barely, restraining themselves from making sweeping judgements based on this case) is that lack of legislation led to this woman’d tragic death.

    As Dr. D has pointed out. This is impossible to know at this stage, unless one is intimately involved with the case. Medical professionals do deal with cases such as this routinuely and this type of tragedy remains a rare occurance. Doctors can and do treat women in cases where that treatment leads to the death of her unborn child, if the life of the mother is at risk. The question here would seems to be why/how the life of the mother was not perceived to be at risk when clearly it was (or went on to be).

    Lots of questions. Broadsheet’s headline is appropriate – Why? Why did this woman die when she not have? As much as some would like to immeadiately claim that the reason supports their own agenda I think we should wait and see precisely what happened and why it happened.

    RIP Savita Halappanavar

    1. Melton_Carbury

      +1 Both Blobster and Dr. D are correct to warn against a rash of Daily Mail style, uninformed, hatred. Lets wait and see.

      My best wishes and sympathy go to Savita’s family.

      1. Pedeyw

        But she did ask for the termination of a terminally ill fetus that was destined to miscarry anyway. Regardless of whether or not it would have saved her, she should not have been forced to wait till the death of the fetus before it was removed.

          1. PhilJo

            She was fully dilated, the foetus was 17 weeks old, the earliest successful birth to date is 21 weeks, terminally ill may be pedantically inaccurate, but the foetus’ condition was terminal

  23. EvilRobotDanny

    It’s all very well saying that we cannot apportion blame because we dont know the full facts, but if you read any of the articles that are rapidly spreading worldwide, the facts (as stated by Mr Halappanavar) are pretty evident.

    “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.”

    Now unless you want to call Mr Halappanavar a liar, that would seem pretty damn cut and dry to me……

    1. Blobster

      Numerous media articles all based on one another and Mr Halaooanavar’s initial comments on the matter do not amount to a thorough, methodical investigation into why this tragedy happened.

      If it was at all avoidable, which seems highly likely, Mrs Halappanavar should not have died, nor should her death be left un-investigated. You may be happy making pronouncements so soon and with so little evidence at your disposal but I doubt her family are.

      Cut and dry?? Seriously…

    2. Dr D

      I’m not calling anyone a liar. I’m not suggesting I know any more than anyone else about the case. I am suggesting that this young man is clearly in an emotive state and frequently patients do not understand or misunderstand what they are told by doctors.

      Incidentally, both articles also state that the wife said she was neither Irish nor Catholic as if that meant the laws should not apply.

      I suspect rather strongly that the case is very far from “cut and dry”. It is very unlikely that the reports in the two papers tell the full story.

      If you’ve worked in medicine danny, you’ll know that it is very rare that anything is “pretty damn cut and dry”

      1. Susan

        “I am suggesting that this young man is clearly in an emotive state and frequently patients do not understand or misunderstand what they are told by doctors. ”

        Oh would you ever just…

        You are some piece of work.

        1. Dr D


          I’m just suggesting that not everything in the Irish times or the indo needs to be taken as the full truth.

          I work with and treat patients every day. I am well aware of patients coming back to me with sometimes horrendous misunderstandings of what they have been told. Often the doctor may be unaware of the patients misunderstanding.

          I suspect that the ability to comprehend medical or obstetric information is highly influenced by human emotion and is perhaps also influenced by cultural and language barriers.

          I’m sure there’s probably some work published on this, most likely in psychology journals, but don’t have time to dig out any references at the moment.

          Again, thanks for your insight.

      2. Ella

        Might I ask a question, since you seem to have expertise in this area, Dr D?

        I’m wondering about the specific issue of foetal heartbeat. Why is that taken into account in this situation from a medical point of view? Is it generally part of the decision-making process because of the medical team’s awareness of abortion law, or would there have been a medically-indicated reason for taking it into account when making decisions on Savita Halappanavar’s treatment?

        1. Dr D

          I’ve no idea why foetal heartbeat would come into it. If the health of a woman was in grave danger as a result of chorioamnionitis or sepsis as a consequence of that, it would seem approtpriate to deliver the foetus and obtain “source control” as somebody suggested above. However I’m not going to comment on why that may not have happened in this case.

          I make that point only as a general point and would stress that I wouldn’t comment on this case as I’m not, and likely never will be in possession of the full facts.

          1. Ella

            Thank you for your input on that. Completely understand that you can’t comment on this particular case, nor would I ask you too.

            I suppose I’m wondering to what extent the legal ban on abortion is a factor of which obstetricians are aware in day to day medical decisions. I wondered whether the emphasis on the foetal heartbeat (or, if we’re covering all bases, the apparent privileging of the foetal heartbeat in what the Halappanavars were told) is indicative of legislative rather than medical concerns.

    3. EvilRobotDanny

      I’m not asking anyone to call off the investigation here, I’m simply stating that the moral outrage being expressed here would appear to be more than justified.
      I mean, how can the quote I mentioned above be misunderstood or misconstrued??

      1. Dr D

        you’d be surprised. It’s extremely unlikely that the hospital in the knowledge of the shitstorm that would be thrown up would act only in the interests and ethos of the Catholic church.

        Personally, it’s not credible to suggest that a consultant who has likely spent at least 15-20 years dedicating his/her life to saving lives would stand by and watch a young woman die if (s)he felt there was a better option

      2. Blobster

        Not to go any deeper into things we don’t properly know about but I imagine thingsget pretty frantic in these circumstances. I’m sure something along those lines was said to them. The fact is, it’s complete bullshit and perhaps used as a short-hand, “look, this is why we can’t do that” by a medic under extremem pressure. It is factually incorrect and muddies the waters. There are, I presume, a variety of reasons why a termination or inducement was not carried out – that it couldn’t be done, that it could make things worse, that the personnel or resources were not available, that a medic felt it would be illegal, etc, etc. I suspect that it’s highly unlikely that the course of action taken by the medical team was taken because they all felt “You know what, this is a catholic country, we’re not going to do our best for this woman. Lets just sit back and see what happens”. I really, really doubt that kind of scenario played out.

        Again – needs to be thoroughly, methodically investigated from top to bottom.

  24. baa

    Hello. I thought this might be of interest to people visiting here. If not apologies.
    This clip is taken from an straight to video American film called ‘Swing Vote’, starring Andy Garcia:

    Said film features an alternative reality where the Supreme Court of the United States has overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, and the State of Alabama subsequently charge a woman with first degree murder for having an abortion.
    Garcia plays a member of a tied Supreme Court who ends up being the ‘swing vote’ in the decision on what should be done about the whole abortion issue, whether to make it illegal or not. Below is his verdict.
    I know the clip has that odour of soapy americana bullshit and obviously we aren’t in the States but I think some things said here chime true for Ireland, like the reference to deficiencies in the (hopefully soon to change) adoption system and whats right/wrong with the pro life/pro choice stance.
    (Apologies for the poor sound quality, thats all I could find on youtube.)

  25. Rumpleforeskin

    We deserved to be pointed and laughed at as a country for this sort of shit. Bunch of ignorant f*cks running this country…

    1. Blobster

      Questions of medical ethics and medical malpractice (not specifically refering to this case) happen in every country around the world. Tragic medical outcomes also happen in every country in the world….regardless of who runs the country.

      1. Jess

        Tragic medical outcomes down at least partially to nonexistent legislation leading to grey areas in important areas, though? Not as common.

        When Savita asked for an abortion, she should have been given one. Whether it could have saved her life may be debatable, but it would have improved her chances.

        1. Blobster

          You have no way of knowing that. You are making pronouncments on this tragedy based on almost zero evidence.

          1. Jess

            I am saying, as I always do, that her wish for an abortion should have been respected and MAY have helped avoid her death.

            If the hospital had carried out an abortion when Savita first asked for it, when they concluded that she was miscarrying and the foetus could not have been saved, it would have spared her days of pain and bleeding – and would likely have spared her the infection, fever, vomiting and death that took her in the end.

            I am basing this merely on the news reports I have read, but they all agree that her condition worsened dramatically after the initial refusal to remove the source of her pain – the miscarrying pregnancy. That seems pretty clear to me.

          2. Blobster

            @Jess First you say it “would hae improved her chances” of surviving, now you’ve changed it to “may have helped avoid her death”.

            The fact is, none of us can say that becasue we know so little of the background and facts.

            It’s best to wait for the results of serious, rigorous investigation by people who are privy to the facts.

          3. Jess

            “First you say it “would hae improved her chances” of surviving, now you’ve changed it to “may have helped avoid her death””

            …Yes? I’m not changing my line, those two phrases mean the same thing. Chance of survival = chance to avoid death. If the pregnancy had been terminated when she asked, she would have avoided several painful days in a dangerously infection-prone state. The infection that killed her may thus have been avoided – unless she contracted it beforehand, in which case the staff let her sit in hospital for several days apparently waiting around til they could remove the cause of her infectious state.

    2. Tony

      Not ignorant, cowards, it has to do with the amount of votes any party who legislated for abortion would lose. Catholics and Pensioners are still a major demographic. I believe if they could legislate safe in the knowledge they wouldn’t lose a single vote, they probably would.

      1. uiscebeatha

        Maybe they could try to have a cross-party agreement on this one? Highly unlikely, I know but I can dream..

        Also, people DID vote for the X case legislation to be enacted so it’s not as if they would lose all support, they may even gain a few younger voters.

  26. Ann Onymous

    Miscarriage is a dangerous thing. Miscarriage itself can pose a threat to the life of the mother.

    As someone hospitalised due to miscarriage complications, I feel that Savita should have been granted her termination. No woman asks for one lightly. No woman who is enduring the intense pain, and interminable grief of loss asks for a termination without thought.

    Medically, there is NOTHING that can be done to prevent a miscarriage once it begins. There was something they could have done to save the mother’s life. And they chose not to. And frankly, they should be facing malpractice suits for this.

      1. Cinquecento

        “The doctor told us the cervix was fully dilated, amniotic fluid was leaking …”

        At seventeen weeks, this is a miscarriage. It’s in the press report(s).

        1. Yuphrum

          Its like talking to a brick wall, even when its clear that because of the greyness of our archaic abortion laws that medical treatment was delayed cause there was still a fetal heartbeat.

          If you have an inflammed apendix you get it taken out immediately. A doctor doesnt say, “Even though you’re in agonizing pain and we know this is whats causing it we’re just going to wait a few more days to see whether it gets better or not”

          Speed is key to saving lives and the fact is it took 3 days for her to get treatment

          1. Dr D

            PPROM, even at 17 weeks to the best of my medical knowledge is NOT the same as a miscarriage.

            I’m pretty sure that peer reviewed journals and textbooks would have a better understanding of this than the Irish Times or the Indo

          2. pans

            And how did you, Dr D, deduce that it was PPROM, and not miscarriage? Are you sure you did read the article?:
            “Savita Halappanavar (31), …..was found to be miscarrying”
            “Her husband…..says that, having been told she was miscarrying”
            Also, just to be clear about the reason for not terminating:
            “The consultant said, ‘As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’. Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. ”
            How much more clear does it need to be?
            “I’m pretty sure that peer reviewed journals and textbooks would have a better understanding of this than the Irish Times or the Indo”– And?

  27. droid

    Some input from an actual, verified doctor.


    Background: A death as a result of an infection during a miscarriage is a rare event in the developed world. Referred to as a septic abortion or miscarriage, most cases are due to infection with bacteria such as E.coli or streptococci.

    In a more severe form that spreads to the wall of the uterus, the patient will usually have a fever and a raised pulse.

    The initial management of a suspected septic abortion involves taking a swab from the vagina and the neck of the womb. If the woman’s temperature goes above 38.4 degrees Celsius then blood is taken and sent to the laboratory to see if the bugs have spread to the bloodstream.

    A combination of antibiotics is started even before the results of these tests are available. However, it is possible that despite the treatment the patient will go into medical shock, their blood pressure drops and a serious complication called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) may ensue.

    In this situation it is normal practice to wait until the patient has stabilised before surgically removing the contents of the uterus.

    On rare occasions, a hysterectomy may be needed if the infection remains uncontrolled.

    A miscarriage is defined as loss of pregnancy in first 24 weeks of gestation.

    There are different types of miscarriage including:

    * a threatened miscarriage with mild symptoms of bleeding and usually little or no pain. The neck of the womb remains closed;

    * an incomplete miscarriage occurs if either the conception sac or the placenta remains in the womb;

    * an inevitable miscarriage occurs with heavy bleeding, and the neck of the womb is now open. If the bleeding is severe the mother may slip into medical shock.

    In an inevitable miscarriage, even though a foetal heart beat is present, the pregnancy cannot continue to term.

    With the neck of the womb already open, the woman’s body prepares to naturally evacuate her womb.

    However, with the neck of the womb open, there is an opportunity for bugs such as E.coli to travel from the vagina into the womb before multiplying and infecting the inside wall of the uterus.

    Infection can then spread to the woman’s bloodstream, leading to shock and the onset of DIC, which occurs when the normal functioning of blood cells is progressively impaired, leading to multi-organ failure.

    1. droid

      So based on what we do know so far, the refusal to terminate the pregnancy almost certainly increased the risk of infection, and hence the death of the mother.

  28. Yuphrum

    Bottom Line.

    Because of our anti abortion laws a woman was delayed treatment to save her life. She was a medically trained woman that asked 3 times for an abortion and was still denied it.
    That is what infuriates me. That a woman doesnt have control over what she can do with her body regardless of how educated she is or her physical health

    1. Blobster

      That’s not the bottom line.

      The bottom line is the sequence of events that actually happened. These are still very unclear and to be determined (hopefully) by a thorough investigation.

      Even doctors don’t treat themselves. So the fact that she was a dentist is not very relevant. What is important is what her doctors thought and did.

      1. Yuphrum

        You are seriously retarded if you think “the sequence of events” constitutes a bottom line argument.

        It seems very clear that her not recieving treatment for a few days because of a fetal heartbeat would be cause of alot of problems.
        Why wasnt a woman not able to recieve the abortion even though she was miscarrying.
        The law in Ireland about abortion to save the life of a woman is so poorly worded that doctors were more than llikely afraid of any legal repercussions had they given her one thats why.

        1. Blobster

          Thanks for keeping the debate civilised.

          The answers to your questions are those that everyone wants to see in any serious investigation. The sequesnce of events is absolutely vital – what went on, which doctors knew what, who made what decisions, why were decisions made or not made, why was the pregnancy not induced….etc.

          1. Yuphrum

            Thank you for being an anus of the highest caliber

            Its already obvious what happened and has been explained numerous times in the thread and in the article itself, but you’re clearly too stuck in your pro life ways to see otherwise and quite frankly trying to explain to you is a waste of energy

          2. Seán Ó hUisceanna

            Yuphrum is surely right. Why should out views be constrained by the tyranny of facts? What does it matter, in the end, what happened to such and such a person at such and such a place? Isn’t the important thing that we look into our hearts and feel?

          3. Blobster

            Yuphrum – perhaps you should contact the HSE with your definitive insight into what happened. When they ask you how you know this tell them the information was gathered from news articles and internet discussions.

  29. Yuphrum

    Alright then Sean. I will wait for the facts cause I can only be proven right about how the laws regarding abortion need to be rewritten or that a woman should have a right to choose

    Meanwhile your side just looks like tyrants, taking away the rights of women in the whole country :)

    1. Seán Ó hUisceanna

      I fail to see what is funny about taking away the rights of women. If you were any kind of man you would stand up for the gentler sex rather than attack them with typographical smirking.

  30. Yuphrum

    Thats exactly what you’re doing though and I’m not attacking the fairer sex, I’m standing up for them by being for letting them choose to do what they want with their bodies. The exact opposite to what you’re doing.
    Also I wasnt even making a joke there

  31. Whimsical Cogitations

    There seems to be a lot of comment here, and arguments that we can’t make judgements as we don’t know all the facts.


    We know all the facts we need to know, without knowing every last fact of this particular case.

    The fact is that a case MAY arise (and may have done so in this case) where the life of a foetus will surely be lost by miscarriage, and in which the mother’s life is lost as a result of infection directly related to an open cervix, as the medical teams’ hands are tied by Irish legislation.

    This particular case is tragic. If our outdated legislation is to blame, it will be all the more tragic.

    We don’t need to argue about the exact cause in this instance to form an opinion however. The fact is that this situation CAN arise, and that is unacceptable.

    1. Dr D

      I’m not sure where the loophole is, genuinely. The medical council guidelines state

      “In current obstetrical practice, rare complications can arise where therapeutic intervention (including termination of a pregnancy) is required at a stage when, due to extreme immaturity of the baby, there may be little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to intervene to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.”

      Perhaps you could explain where the grey area is? Again, I’m not trying to be argumentative.

Comments are closed.