Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Row over leaking of draft report

Praveen Halappanavar claims that doctors refused to carry out an abortion on his wife Savita as a foetal heartbeat was present
Praveen Halappanavar claims that doctors refused to carry out an abortion on his wife Savita as a foetal heartbeat was present

The Government is facing calls to issue the widower of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar with a copy of a draft report into her death.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin insisted the dead woman's widower Praveen would be the first to receive findings when the report is finalised. He said it was "shameful, unacceptable and hurtful" that a draft was leaked as interested parties were asked privately to respond to perceived inaccuracies.

"All our focus should be on the renewed distress of the family of Savita Halappanavar, particularly her husband. The pain must be unbearable," Mr Howlin said.

He insisted Health Minister Dr James Reilly has not yet seen the report - following calls from Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald that a copy be issued to Mr Halappanavar immediately. She described the leaking of the report as grossly insensitive.

The Government is expected to examine the final report within the next 10 days.

The Health Service Executive inquiry has investigated Mrs Halappanavar's treatment at Galway University Hospital, where she miscarried and subsequently suffered septicaemia. She died on October 28.

Her widower claims that doctors refused to carry out an abortion as a foetal heartbeat was present. Draft findings of the inquiry stated doctors did not respond immediately to calls to attend to Mrs Halappanavar because they were too busy.

It also found that blood tests from the day Mrs Halappanavar was admitted to hospital were not followed up on, and it warned that abortion on medical grounds was not considered early enough in her care.

Mr Howlin confirmed the health minister had conveyed his personal concerns about the leaking of the report to Mr Halappanavar.

An inquest into the death is set for April 8 and scheduled for one week.

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