Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Savita Halappanavar's abortion requests missing from medical file

Savita Halappanavar
Protesters during a march in O'Connell Street, Dublin, to demand legislation on abortion after the death of Savita Halappanavar
Galway University Hospital doctors allegedly refused to carry out a medical termination for 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar

The husband of Savita Halappanavar has spoken of his shock that the couple's repeated requests for a termination are missing from her medical notes.

The detailed notes from Galway University Hospital include information on requests for tea and toast and additional blankets — but make no reference whatsoever to the couple's requests over two separate days for the unviable pregnancy to be terminated.

Medical records made available to Mr Halappanavar do not include doctor's notes for Monday, October 22 — the day the couple first requested a termination. While doctors' notes are available for Tuesday, October 23, they make no reference to the requested termination which was reiterated on that date.

Praveen Halappanavar revealed how the missing information had destroyed his faith in the Republic’s Health and Safety Executive.

“It's time to get the facts and the truth for Savita,” added Mr Halappanavar. “I don't have any faith in the HSE. I saw (the files) earlier this week. It was a blow and that was the reason why we never wanted the HSE inquiry,” he said.

It has also emerged that a number of clinical notes were added to the file after Ms Halappanavar's death. However, none of these refer to the termination request.

“They have all the other information including requests for tea and toast and for an extra blanket, all of that is in the notes, but the important information about requesting the termination is not,” said Mr Halappanavar.

Tony O’Brien, head of the HSE, has asked the patient safety watchdog, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), to begin a separate investigation.

Meanwhile, Irish President Michael D Higgins defended his intervention in the row.

Mr Higgins said he spoke out to express the great sadness felt in Ireland, but some felt he was sidestepping his obligation not to make political statements.

“I said it's very important that the investigation be such as satisfies the genuine concern of the Irish people and that helps reduce the grief for Savita's husband and her family.”

Background

Savita Halappanavar (31) died on October 28, 17 weeks into her pregnancy. She miscarried and subsequently suffered septicaemia. Her husband claims that doctors refused to carry out an abortion because a foetal heartbeat was present. He says they were told Ireland “is a Catholic country”.

YouTube video showing Savita on St Patrick's Day


Savita captured on video enjoying St Patrick’s Day in Galway last March

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