Hiqa publishes Savita terms
The Health Information and Quality Authority may have to establish a further investigation into how pregnant women who are getting increasingly ill are cared for in Irish hospitals, following its inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar.
The authority, which this afternoon published the terms of reference for its investigation into the death of the 31 year-old pregnant woman at Galway University Hospital last month, said if it emerged that there may be “serious risks” to any other woman in a similar situation in the future, it may recommend “further investigation or ..a new [one] “.
Ms Halappanavar (31) died at Galway University Hospital on October 28th of septicaemia.
She had been 17 weeks pregnant when she presented a week earlier at the hospital’s maternity unit with back-pain. She was found to be miscarrying and, says her husband, Praveen, asked repeatedly for a termination of the pregnancy over a three-day period. He says this was refused as there was a foetal heartbeat present and “this is a Catholic country”.
The HSE asked Hiqa to begin an investigation into the death in addition to its own inquiry.
The Hiqa investigation will be into “the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women at risk of clinical deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar”.
It will review the safety and quality of care provided at the Galway hospital to deteriorating patients, including pregnant women and including the diagnosis and management of sepsis.
The authority will also review the arrangements in place to ensure safe services including promptly identifying, reporting and managing clinically deteriorating patients.
“If in the course of the investigation it becomes apparent that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there are further or other serious risks to the health or welfare of any person receiving similar services, the investigation team may recommend to the authority and/or the Minister for Health that these terms be extended to include further investigation or that a new investigation be undertaken, as appropriate.”
Membership of the investigation team will be finalised next week and its work will begin immediately, said a spokesman.
The draft terms of reference were sent to Mr Halappanavar’s solicitor earlier this week.
Mr Halappanavar, however, has said he will not take part in it or the HSE inquiry. He is pursuing an action to the European Court of Human Rights in his bid to have a sworn, public inquiry established.
Meanwhile the Galway coroner, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, expects to hold an inquest into Ms Halappanavar’s death early in the New Year.