A year since the death of Savita Halappanavar
Hiqa report finds failure to provide the most basic element of patient care and failure to recognise and act upon signs of clinical diagnosis
Praveen Halappanavar husband of Savita Halappanavar who died following a miscarriage in the Galway University Hospital. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Sunday 21st October 2012: Savita Halappanavar (31), who is 17 weeks’ pregnant, has been experiencing severe back-pain overnight at home in Roscam, Galway. Her husband Praveen brings her to St Monica’s ward, the maternity ward, at Galway University Hospital where she is found to be miscarrying. She is admitted and the plan is to “await events”.
Monday, 22nd October: 00.30 am Savita’s waters break. Consultant obstetrician, Dr Katherine Astbury, sees her at 8.30 am.
Tuesday, 23rd October: 8.30 am, Savita asks Dr Astbury whether the pregnancy can be terminated, who tells her that Irish law will not permit termination as her life is not at risk. 11.30 am, Savita and her friend Mrdula Vaseali, ask midwife manager Ann Maria Burke if the pregnancy can be terminated. Ms Burke says it cannot, explaining, ‘It’s a Catholic thing’. Savita becomes very unwell overnight.
Wednesday, 24th October: Savita is in septic shock by morning. She delivers a still-born female that afternoon. She is transferred to the High Dependency Unit.
Thursday, 25th October: She is moved to ICU around 3 am. She does not regain consciousness.
Sunday, 28th October: Despite valiant efforts by ICU staff since her admission, at 1.09 am, Savita suffers cardiac arrest and dies
Saturday, 3rd November: Savita is buried at home, in Belgaum India
Friday, 9th November: Praveen tells the story to The Irish Times
Wednesday, 14th November: News of Savita’s death is broken by The Irish Times. It makes headlines across the world.
Monday, 19th November: HSE announces inquiry into Savita’s death will be chaired by Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, Professor of Obstetrics at St George’s University, London. Praveen, who has just arrived back in Galway from India, objects to the inclusion of three members of staff from Galway University Hospital on the inquiry team. They are removed and replaced.
Friday, 23rd November: The Health, Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) announces it will investigate the standards of care provided to patients. including pregnant women, at risk of clinical deterioration at UCHG, in light of Savita’s death.
January 18th: Inquest into Savita’s death opens for preliminary hearing in Galway
April 8th: Inquest opens in Galway for full hearing. It will run over two weeks, hear from over 30 witnesses, including three expert witnesses.
April 19th: Jury returns verdict of death by medical misadventure
June 13th: HSE publishes report, which finds multiples failures in the care of Savita. It finds there was an under-emphasis on the Savita’s deteriorating health and an overemphasis on her unviable foetus.
July 3rd: Praveen instructs his solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell, to issue medical negligence hearings against the HSE and the hospital
October 9th 2013: Hiqa report published.