Savita inquiry team approved


The Health Information and Quality Authority will complete and publish its investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar (31) “as soon as possible”.

A spokeswoman said the authority had begun its preparatory work for the investigation this week, as soon as the members of the investigating team had been approved.

A consultant midwife, consultant obstetrician and two microbiologists will be among those on the eleven-person team, announced today by Hiqa.

One further person is to be appointed and details of this will be published shortly.

The investigating team has been charged 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”. The authority has said it will publish the findings of its inquiry.

Ms Halappanavar died at Galway University Hospital on October 28th, having presented on October 21st with severe backpain. 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”.

The miscarriage lasted for four days. Ms Halappanavar contracted Ecoli and septicemia.

The Hiqa investigation is being sponsored, or chaired, by Phelim Quinn, Director of Regulation with the authority.

There are four other Hiqa members on the team, as well as six independent investigators.

Dr Paul Fogarty, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Ulster Hospital in Belfast, where he has worked since 1993.

Dr Nuala Lucas, consultant anaesthetist at Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, England is also chair of the Group of Obstetrics Anaesthetists in London.

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, will also investigate.

A lay person, Loretta Evans, described as a ’patient safety champion’ will also be on the team.

The Hiqa spokeswoman said the investigation would be completed, a report submitted to the board and approved, shared with Minister for Health James Reilly and then published. This would all be completed “as soon as possible” she said.

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