Posts Tagged ‘Savita Halappanavar’

‘Highly likely’ Halappanavar would be alive if termination given, inquest told

Posted in politics on April 18th, 2013 by monika – Be the first to comment

The Irish Times,  17.4.2013 by Kitty Holland, Paul Cullen

Former master of Holles Street says obstetricians working in a legal vacuum as to when termination can be performed

Dr. Peter Boylan arriving at Galway County Hall for the inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Savita Halappanavar would probably be alive today if she had been given a termination of her pregnancy when she requested it, the former master of the National Maternity Hospital has told her inquest.
Dr Peter Boylan said that if Ms Halappanavar had been given a termination on the Monday or Tuesday, one or two days after she was admitted last October 21st, she would “on the balance of probabilities”, still be alive.
“It is highly likely she would not have died” if she had been given a termination earlier, he added.
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A System of Soft Terror: Life and Death in Ireland

Posted in politics on December 16th, 2012 by monika – Be the first to comment, December 7-9, 2012 by JAMES DAVIS

O Ireland my first and only love
Where Christ and Caesar are hand and glove

– James Joyce
Ireland has a peculiar reputation. On the one hand its colonized history has lent it a prestigious place in the canon of anti colonial and revolutionary eschatology, while on the other hand clerical and patriarchal supremacy has made it famous as a laboratory of authoritarian repression. However, in recent years most militants have made their peace with Britain, greeted the Queen and taken seats at the table. At the same time the relative decline in the power of the Catholic Church resulting from secularization and the scandal and cover-up of clerical child abuse has rocked the regime of social shame and control that has been in place since the foundation of the state.
In fact, Ireland’s human rights record is deceptive. While it has the appearance of a place that guarantees gender equality many of these developments have been the result of dictats from the EU. For example, an EU directive forced the Irish state to treat men and women equally with regard to welfare in 1984 and the European Court of Human Rights ordered the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1988. Were it up to the Irish state there is  no reason to think there would have been reform on these matters. The liberalisation of Ireland over the past couple of decades is in many respects a mirage, even if the state and the courts operate far to the right of the population on many questions.

Savita Halappanavar walked into this contradiction when she presented herself at Galway’s NUI hospital on October 21st suffering from severe back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and in the midst of a miscarriage. After learning that the pregnancy was not viable, she asked several times for a termination but was refused,  being told by the doctor “it’s a Catholic country so we won’t terminate while the foetus is still alive.”  She died in the ICU a week after she was admitted, apparently of septicemia. In the timeline of events published widely in the Irish media and presumably provided by sources in the hospital no mention is made of the patient’s request for a termination. Instead it reports clinically, “After 24 hours of admission, antibiotics are given”…“Patient remains unwell”…“Patient continues to deteriorate” and finally, “Patient dies in the ICU”.

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Irish Catholic Bishops reveal ignorance in statement on death of Savita Halappanavar

Posted in politics on November 30th, 2012 by monika – Be the first to comment

Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter ⋅ November 28, 2012

Cardinal Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

The Irish Catholic Bishops have seen fit to clarify the church’s view on gynecology given Savita Halappanavar’s death from sepsis at 17 weeks in her pregnancy and the concern that evacuating her uterus was delayed because the fetus still had a heart beat. The full statement is here, but this is the excerpt I find most troubling:

– Whereas abortion is the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby and is gravely immoral in all circumstances, this is different from medical treatments which do not directly and intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby. Current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals to apply this vital distinction in practice while upholding the equal right to life of both a mother and her unborn baby.

I spent quite sometime trying to understand how one could possibly translate this statement into medical care. I’ve been a doctor for 22 years and an OB/GYN for 17 years and I admit that I am at a bit of a loss. My three interpretations are as follows.

Terminating a pregnancy is “gravely immoral in all circumstances.” All circumstances includes 17 weeks and ruptured membranes. Unless I misunderstand the meaning of “all,” then Irish Catholic Bishops also view ending a pregnancy at 17 weeks with ruptured membranes and sepsis, either by induction of labor or the surgical dilation and evaluation (D & E), to be “gravely immoral.” They must also view ending a pregnancy for a woman who previously had postpartum cardiomyopathy and a 50% risk of death in her pregnancy as “gravely immoral.” So if you have a medical condition that is rapidly deteriorating because of your pregnancy, too bad for you if you live in Ireland. Because the mother and unborn baby have equal rights to life, Irish law spares women the anguish of choosing their own life. Neither can be first, so both must die.
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Abortion in Ireland: The Injustice and Day-to-Day Terror Faced by Countless Women

Posted in politics on November 30th, 2012 by monika – Be the first to comment, November 28, 2012 , by Sarah Fisher, Abortion Support Network

Abortion Support Network’s Jennifer Reiter at a vigil in London

As an organisation that hears first-hand from the women who bear the burden of Ireland’s archaic abortion laws, the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar was shocking and sickening.

And yet not as surprising as you’d think.
Given that abortion laws in Ireland are among the strictest in the world, a tragedy of this kind wasn’t so much a matter of if, but when. The circumstances in which Savita died are truly abhorrent. Admitted to hospital experiencing a miscarriage at 17 weeks, despite being told that the fetus “wasn’t viable” she was made to suffer for days, left begging for an abortion that she was refused as long as there was a foetal heart beat.

Haunted by the harrowing details of Savita’s death we’re left to wonder how many more women in Ireland may have lost their lives as a result of being denied a life-saving abortion.
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Experts say Ireland should clarify abortion laws

Posted in politics on November 30th, 2012 by monika – Be the first to comment

Reuters – DUBLIN | Sun Nov 25, 2012, by Lorraine Turner

A woman holds a poster during a vigil in Dublin November 17, 2012, in memory of Savita Halappanavar and in support of changes to abortion law. Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

(Reuters) – Ireland should allow limited access to abortion by clarifying the conditions under which women can terminate pregnancies, experts have concluded in a report that will fuel a debate which has split the country and led to tensions within the coalition.

Abortion was banned in all circumstances in overwhelmingly Catholic Ireland by a 1983 constitutional amendment, but when the ban was challenged in 1992 by a 14-year-old rape victim, the Supreme Court ruled a termination was permitted when the woman’s life was at risk, including from suicide.
Successive governments have however failed to clarify the conditions under which the mother’s life could be judged to be at risk.
The issue has been highlighted in the past fortnight by the death of an Indian woman in Ireland who was denied an abortion of her dying fetus and later died of blood poisoning.

The death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar re-ignited the abortion debate in Ireland and highlighted the lack of clarity in Irish law that leaves doctors in the legally risky position to decide when an abortion can be carried out and, critics say, means their personal beliefs can play a role in their decision.
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