HSE report on Y abortion case contains contradictions

Solictor says inconsistencies give rise to questions over credibility

Inconsistencies have emerged in the draft report into the care of Ms Y, the young woman at the centre of an abortion controversy.

A draft of the HSE report on the care Ms Y received from a range of agencies has been circulated to interested parties, including Ms Y’s legal team.

It has also been seen by The Irish Times.

Ms Y, a young immigrant, claims she was raped before she arrived in the State earlier this year. She came to the attention of HSE psychiatric services at about 24 weeks’ gestation, when it was deemed too late to abort the pregnancy – despite the fact she was deemed suicidal under the provisions of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.


Premature delivery

A baby boy was born at just under 26 weeks’ gestation by Caesarean section last month.

The apparent inconsistencies are both between what is stated in the draft HSE report and what is noted in records about Ms Y, and between what is reported at points in the draft report about the degree of Ms Y’s mental distress.

For example, the report says a GP who assessed Ms Y on July 17th “indicated that although (s)he was not unduly concerned regarding her mental health that (s)he considered that Ms Y would benefit from a psychiatric assessment and on that basis that (s)he referred Ms Y for assessment to the psychiatric outpatient department at the local acute hospital”.

However, in correspondence to the adult mental health service on July 17th, Ms Y was “feeling suicidal”, the GP said.

The draft report says the GP “recalled that Ms Y did not look obviously pregnant at this time and that formed the view that she was in the early stages of pregnancy”, while in his referral letter he says she is about 23 weeks’ pregnant.

There also appear to be inconsistencies within the report about what was said about Ms Y’s mental distress.

In June, Ms Y was assessed in the Centre for the Care of Survivors of Torture by a doctor, who was to compile a medico-legal report as part of her immigration application. This happened on June 17th.

The doctor telephoned her accommodation centre regarding his concerns about Ms Y’s mental health.

This doctor, says the draft report, told the clerical officer at Ms Y’s accommodation centre that he “was concerned about Ms Y being in a room on her own”.

This doctor is reported as having told the report team, “that Ms Y had responded affirmatively when asked if she had had thoughts of ending her life or of feeling trapped”.

However, at another point in the draft report the same doctor says “the scores elicited from Ms Y using the psychological tests indicated that Ms Y was sad and depressed but not that she was actively suicidal”.


The draft report states on every page: “This is a draft report and can only be considered as such. This document can expect to contain factual/clinical inaccuracies and/or information that may require additional clarification.”

In a statement last night, the HSE stated: “While there may be differences of opinion in what has been compiled by the review team thus far these should not be considered inaccuracies.

“The work of the review team has not yet been completed and the team has not yet carried out all of the interviews they wish to conduct prior to drawing any conclusions about the facts in this case.

“As such, the draft report is not complete and does not present a full and final view of the work of the team compiling the report.”

Ms Y's solicitor, Caoimhe Haughey, said last night, however, the inconsistencies gave "rise to questions about the credibility of this draft report".

The four-person report team, chaired by Dr Philip Crowley, the HSE's national director of its quality and patient safety division, has yet to interview Ms Y, and she is considering whether to engage with the process.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times