Woman dies after hospital refuses termination
Reports say hospital refused as a heartbeat was detected and the woman was told "this is a Catholic country."
- Victoria Ward
- November 16, 2012
A woman died after she was refused an abortion at an Irish hospital whilst undergoing a miscarriage, it emerged yesterday. Savita Halappanavar, 31, was 17 weeks pregnant when she developed back pain and tests revealed that she would lose her baby. But despite her repeated pleas over three days, doctors refused to perform a termination as they could still hear the foetus’s heartbeat, reportedly telling her: "This is a Catholic country." Mrs Halappanavar’s condition rapidly deteriorated and she died after developing septicaemia four days after the death of her baby. The case has prompted renewed calls for the Irish government to legislate for abortion, with pro-choice campaigners branding her death “an outrage”. James Reilly, Ireland’s health minister, sought a report on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy and Galway University Hospital prepared to launch its own investigation. Mrs Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen, expressed astonishment that his Hindu wife, a dentist, died. “It’s very hard,” he told the Irish Times. “It has been a terrible few weeks, very hard to understand how this can happen in the 21st century, very hard to explain to her family.” The couple, who moved to Ireland from India in 2008, had been over the moon when they discovered they were expecting a baby, he disclosed. Mr Halappanavar, 34, said everything had been fine until his wife developed back pain on Saturday October 20. They went to the hospital the following morning but after a series of tests, were told nothing was wrong and sent home again. However, they returned to the hospital just half an hour later after Mrs Halappanavar became increasingly concerned. Her husband, an engineer employed by Boston Scientific in Galway, said that they were once again told there was no cause for concern but demanded to see a doctor. A further examination revealed that the cervix was fully dilated and there was no way the baby would survive. Mr Halappanavar said his wife repeatedly asked for a medical termination but was told it was impossible as long as there was a foetal heartbeat. “Savita was really in agony,” he said. “She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do. Full Story: Pregnant woman dies in Ireland after being denied an abortion Source: Telegraph