Hiqa names members of investigation team

Thu, Dec 20, 2012, 00:00

Halappanavar death:The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) will complete and publish its investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar (31) “as soon as possible”, a spokeswoman for the authority has said.

The comment came yesterday as the authority announced the membership of its investigation team. A consultant midwife, consultant obstetrician and two microbiologists will be among those on the 11-person team. One further person remains to be appointed.

The team has been asked to look into the safety of HSE services to patients, including pregnant women, “at risk of deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar”.

Ms Halappanavar died at Galway University Hospital on October 28th having presented on October 21st . She was 17 weeks pregnant and was found to be miscarrying.

Her husband, Praveen, says she asked over three days for the pregnancy to be terminated but that this was refused because the foetal heartbeat was present and they were told: “this is a Catholic country”. An autopsy carried out by Dr Grace Callagy two days later found she died of septicaemia.

The investigation is being chaired by Phelim Quinn, director of regulation with the authority.

Other members of the investigation team announced yesterday include obstetrician Dr Paul Fogarty; consultant anaesthetist Dr Nuala Lucas; Denise Butler, a midwife consultant with the Public Health Agency of Northern Ireland; Dr Bharet Patel, consultant medical microbiologist with the British Health Protection Agency; and Dr Robert Cunney, consultant microbiologist at Temple Street Children’s hospital.

A lay person, Loretta Evans, described as a “patient safety champion”, will be on the team, as will be four other Hiqa staff.