Doctors removed from Savita inquiry

Published Tuesday, 20 November 2012
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Three consultants have been removed from an investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar, who was refused an abortion and died during a miscarriage.

Doctors removed from Savita inquiry
Savita Halappanavar, who died after being refused an abortion in Galway. (© The Irish Times)

Mrs Halappanavar's husband Praveen had refused to cooperate with the inquiry unless the three doctors were axed - because they are employed by Galway University Hospital where his wife died.

He feared that would mean a conflict of interest could arise.

Health chiefs had previously called for an enquiry that would stand up to "the scrutiny of the world".

On Tuesday, the first day of the investigation, Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed the u-turn.

"The three doctors will not be part of the investigation and therefore different personnel who are competent, who are experienced, and who have no connection to Galway University Hospital, will be appointed," he said.

I would hope that Praveen Halappanavar will cooperate with the change to the investigation, which will be entirely independent. And I think it's very important that his cooperation would be forthcoming.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Mr Halappanavar has claimed that his wife was refused an abortion because her baby's heartbeat was present - despite the fact she was miscarrying and the child would not have survived.

She was 17 weeks pregnant with her first baby when she died on 28 October.

Her husband has called for an independent inquiry, instead of a review.

A human rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, has backed his calls.

"According to the European Court of Human Rights, in order to be effective, an official investigation must ensure that the persons responsible for and carrying out that investigation are completely independent from those implicated in the events," ICCL director Mark Kelly said.

"The proposed inclusion in the inquiry team of three medical consultants from the hospital in which Mr Halappanavar's wife died manifestly fails to meet this requirement."

He added that Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, the head of the inquiry team, had reportedly suggested that the main reason to have internal people involved was to "find out about their standard practice".

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Colin in South Down wrote (800 days ago):
Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, a former president of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, is co-author of a journal article calling upon countries that bar abortion to “look at the evidence available in favor of liberal abortion laws.” I would hardly call this investigation "entirely independant" when the head of the inquiry team is an avowed supporter of legal abortion.
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