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Investigation After Woman Refused An Abortion Died In Irish Hospital

14/11/2012 12:41 | Updated 22 May 2015
Investigation after woman died in Irish hospital after being refused abortionIrish Times

A 17 weeks' pregnant woman died in an Irish hospital after she was repeatedly refused an abortion, her family claim.

Savita Halappanavar's family asked several times for her pregnancy to be terminated because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying.

But medical staff refused because Ireland was a Catholic country and the foetus was still alive, according to her husband, Praveen.

An autopsy carried out two days later found she had died from septicaemia.

Savita's death is now the subject of two investigations at University Hospital Galway in the Republic of Ireland. 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 Savita's death. The Health Service Executive has launched a separate investigation.

Praveeen, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, but originally from India, 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 in a statement: "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."

Abortion is illegal in the Republic except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother.

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