Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Savita 'thanked nurse' for care

Nurse Noreen Hannegan arrives for the inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar at Galway Coroner's Court
Nurse Noreen Hannegan arrives for the inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar at Galway Coroner's Court

A nurse who gripped the hand of Savita Halappanavar while delivering her dead baby daughter has revealed how her patient later thanked her.

The Indian dentist was undergoing surgery for the insertion of a central line when the foetus she had been miscarrying for three days "spontaneously delivered".

Nurse Noreen Hannegan said she held the 31-year-old who was awake, distressed and aware of what was happening as the line for the administration of fluids and drugs was being inserted.

The nurse told Mrs Halappanavar's inquest: "As the procedure got under way she said she felt pressure below. A nurse checked and she had passed the foetus. It was spontaneous. None of us were anticipating that to happen."

A senior house manager in anaesthetics said he had been unaware of a planned termination on Mrs Halappanavar as he inserted the line at around 3.30pm on Wednesday, October 24. Mrs Halappanavar's obstetrician Dr Katherine Astbury was alerted and came in, the nurse said.

The consultant had decided to terminate the pregnancy because of the risk to Mrs Halappanavar's life from suspected sepsis two hours earlier and had contacted microbiologist Dr Deirbhile Keady for antibiotic advice on sepsis at 2pm.

The nurse told coroner, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin: "I asked at that stage if the uterus was empty. I was told it wasn't, but she was going to theatre."

Ms Hannegan said the patient asked for her husband Praveen and they were given time to grieve before "a weak and distressed" Mrs Halappanavar was taken to the high dependency unit.

"I held her and and wished her well, and she thanked me," added the nurse, based at the University Hospital Galway. Mrs Halappanavar was awake, restless and intolerant of the face mask giving her 80% oxygen over the next few hours. She sipped water and nurse Aine Nic an Beatha helped her brush her teeth.

"At this time I acknowledged to her loss of baby and I explained she had an infection in her body which was causing her to feel as uncomfortable as she was," she said.

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