Staff and users of University Hospital Galway were keen to dismiss suggestions yesterday of any Catholic ethos influencing treatment decisions.
As the controversy around the death of Savita Halappanavar continued, sources close to the hospital stressed that not only was there “no particular ethos” at the hospital but it was very well resourced with a high level of specialist care.
“This is why it’s such a shock,” said Cllr Catherine Connolly (Ind), a member of the HSE West’s regional health forum.
“As someone born and reared in Galway, I can say it [a Catholic ethos] never came to my attention. There is a huge waiting list and there is a big issue around cutbacks but once you get into the hospital the treatment is second to none.”
Cllr Michael Crowe (FF), also a member of the HSE forum, said the hospital operated on the basis of “patient first”.
“My belief is if there’s any threat to life, regardless of the context, the medical people would protect the patient. There is no other issue at play. I can say that as a patient, a visitor, and a member of the [forum],” he said.
He added: “There is no doubt it’s a shocking case . . . There is the loss of the young lady in question but there are also the doctors who treated her: they lost a person in their professional duty and they are in my mind too.”
Medical sources similarly downplayed any suggestion of a particular religious ethos at the hospital.
One senior source with experience of Medical Council inquiries said: “Across the country we have moved a good deal away from what might have been the case 15 or 20 years ago.”