A 17-week pregnant woman who was denied a termination after being told she was miscarrying died in a Galway hospital “in agony,” her husband said.
Two investigations are now under way.
Savita Halappanavar (31), an Indian native and dentist in Galway, died of septic shock a week after being admitted, the Irish Times has revealed.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), who is an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says his wife asked several times for her pregnancy to be terminated but was refused because the foetal heartbeat was present and they were told “this is aCatholic country.”
He said she spent two and half days in agony until the heartbeat stopped.
The dead foetus was finally removed but the woman was rushed to the intensive care unit where shedied of septicaemia.
Her husband told the Irish Times there was no way to save the baby when they arrived at the hospital.
“The doctor told us the cervix was fully dilated, amniotic fluid was leaking and unfortunately the baby wouldn’t survive.” They told her they were waiting for the baby to die.
“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."
“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.”
After the foetal heart had stopped the contents of her womb were finally removed and her husband said, “That’s the last time I spoke to her.”
That night the hospital called and “They said they were shifting her to intensive care. Her heart and pulse were low, her temperature was high. She was sedated and critical but stable. She stayed stable on Friday but by 7pm on Saturday they said her heart, kidneys and liver weren’t functioning. She was critically ill. That night, we lost her.”
The Health Service in Ireland is carrying out an investigation as is the hospital itself.
Mr Halappanavar cremated his wife in India.
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