Latest report provides more evidence that change in law not needed to save Savita
Opinion: Hiqa identified general lack of ‘basic, fundamental care’
He also said that he was sure that the hospital had “learned their lesson” and that “staff have been subjected to the most awful vitriol.” He acknowledged the failings, but insisted that the “staff were inhibited in what they could do” [because of the law].
Oddly enough, he did not highlight this sentence from the report: “Ultimate accountability for the safe delivery of patient care lies with the named consultant in charge of that patient’s care. Crucially, the delivery of safe, high-quality patient care is not only the responsibility of a named individual, it is also the job of everyone who works in the multidisciplinary clinical team.”
The report highlights 13 “missed opportunities”, beginning with one Dr Boylan has dismissed on a number of occasions as of no clinical significance – the elevated white blood cell count on admission.
Curiously, Dr Boylan said on Morning Ireland that while the report highlights omissions, it does not suggest what should have been done instead.
This comment is odd, given that the report does say exactly what could have been done instead at these 13 missed opportunities, along with the clear statement that different management “may have potentially changed the outcome of her care”.
In other words, Savita’s life might have been saved. However, Dr Boylan has consistently stated that primarily the law was at fault here because “the only thing that could have been done would’ve been to terminate the pregnancy,” and “nothing else would have worked” (Tonight with Vincent Browne, April 22nd, 2013).
Yet the Hiqa report is clear – there was a “general lack of provision of basic, fundamental care, for example, not following up on blood tests as identified in the case of Savita Halappanavar; failure to recognise that Savita Halappanavar was at risk of clinical deterioration; failure to act or escalate concerns to an appropriately qualified clinician when Savita Halappanavar was showing the signs of clinical deterioration”.
The obvious point is that, yet again, Prof John Bonnar’s view has been vindicated. He has consistently said that if Savita had received proper care, the baby could have been delivered by the Tuesday – and the law in no way impeded that.
Let us hope that a fraction of the energy that went into securing abortion legislation goes into ensuring that there are no more cases like Tania McCabe and Savita Halappanavar, and that the dishonourable Irish tradition of issuing reports but not actually doing anything does not go on.