Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Woman 'had higher white cell count'

Dr Andrew Gaolebale eaves the inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar at Galway Coroner's Court

Blood tests taken from Savita Halappanavar on the day she was admitted to hospital showed an elevated white cell count, her inquest has been told.

Two doctors who first treated the 31-year-old at University Hospital Galway revealed they had no concerns about her condition when she was admitted on Sunday October 21.

Senior house officer Dr Olufoyeke Olatunbosun initially diagnosed Mrs Halappanavar with back pain and discharged her, but she arrived back within hours complaining that she felt something "coming down" and had to push it back up.

The medic said an internal examination revealed it was the sack covering the foetus as the cervix was open, which should have been closed.

She said a blood test showed a raised white cell count, which could be normal in pregnancy, but otherwise the patient was well.

"I would not change my management skills in any way," she said.

Dr Andrew Gaolebale, a specialist registrar in obstetrics who was called for a second opinion, diagnosed that the pregnancy was being lost but stressed that he did not give any timeframe for the miscarriage. Despite the risk of infection, his patient showed no clinical symptoms or evidence of signs she might have one, he said.

He was not aware of the blood results on the night and they were not known for a number of days, Dr Gaolebale said.

"The white cell count was 16 and the normal pregnancy range in the first trimester was 15," he said about her notes. "I would have repeated them."

Elsewhere, the inquest heard that a nationwide early warning system installed in obstetrics departments across the country was not in place in University Hospital Galway until a month after Mrs Halappanavar's death.

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