Nov. 14: Savita Halappanavar, 31, went to University Hospital Galway on October 21 with back pain. She was found to be miscarrying, a report in the Irish Times said, and died of septicaemia a week later.
Savita’s husband Praveen told the newspaper that, after she was told that she was miscarrying, and having already spent one day in severe pain, his wife asked for the pregnancy to be terminated.
Medical staff refused, he claimed, allegedly telling her “this is a Catholic country”, and insisting they could not carry out a termination while the foetus still had a heartbeat.
Praveen, 34, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, said his wife — who was Hindu — protested that she was neither Irish nor Catholic, but that staff told them there was nothing they could do.
Savita spent another two days “in agony” before the heartbeat stopped and the dead foetus was removed, her husband said.
“She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby,” Praveen, who spoke to the Irish Times from Belgaum, Karnataka, was quoted as saying.
“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 said, ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic,’ but they said there was nothing they could do.”
Then, she was taken first to a high dependency unit, and then to intensive care, where she died of septicaemia on October 28, the newspaper reported.
A hospital spokesperson told the Irish Times that two investigations had been launched into Savita’s death, an internal probe by the hospital and one by the Health Service Executive.
The spokesperson also told the newspaper that in general, sudden hospital deaths were reported to the coroner. A risk review was carried out with external experts in the case of maternal deaths.