A woman died in Galway last month after she was “denied” an abortion. The Daily Shift’s Roisin Peddle reports…
It has emerged that a 31-year-old woman died in University Hospital Galway last month after being “denied” a termination.
Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when, complaining of back pain, she went to the hospital on October 21 last. Ms Halappanavar was found to be miscarrying and died a week later. Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, 34, said that his wife had been in “agony” for three days before she lost the baby.
Mr Halappanavar, an engineer with Boston Scientific, said that his wife asked repeatedly for a termination, but this was refused because the baby still had a “strong foetal heartbeat”. She was also reportedly told that “this is a Catholic country”.
Speaking to the Irish Times from his native India, where Ms Halappanavar’s funeral took place on November 3, Mr Halappanavar said that his wife was in severe pain.
“Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning Savita asked if they could not save the baby, could they induce to end the pregnancy. The consultant said, ‘As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’.
“Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do,” he said.
“That evening she developed shakes and shivering and she was vomiting. She went to use the toilet and she collapsed. There were big alarms and a doctor took bloods and started her on antibiotics.
“The next morning I said she was so sick and asked again that they just end it, but they said they couldn’t.”
By lunchtime that day the foetal heartbeat had stopped and Ms Halappanavar was taken into theatre in order to remove the embryo.
She remained in intensive care until she passed away on Saturday October 28. The autopsy revealed that Ms Halappanavar died of septicaemia “documented ante-mortem” and E.coli ESBL.
Galway Pro-Choice released a statement saying:
“If legislation is not introduced immediately, more women will die. Under the X Case ruling, women in Ireland are legally entitled to an abortion when it is necessary to save their life. However, legislation has never been passed to reflect this. It is the failure of successive governments to do so that led to Savita’s death.”