Health Minister discusses report leak with Halappanavar widow
14/02/2013 - 11:07:21
It has emerged the Health Minister's been in contact with Praveen Halappanavar in the wake of the leaking of a draft report of the investigation into the death of his wife Savita.
In the Dáil this morning, the Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin described the leak as shameful, unacceptable and hurtful.
Minister Howlin has faced calls from Sinn Féin for a copy of the report to be given to Mr Halappanavar immediately.
He said that the investigation must be allowed complete its work.
"Once the report is finalised, in advance of any publication, and this should not - in draft form, or in any form - either be in the public domain and, with all due respect, be commented upon, until we've seen the complete report, by anybody," he said.
"Too often in the past, in so many issues, people come to conclusions. Let's give the space and the time to the expert panel that are there."
Minister Brendan Howlin insisted that Praveen Halappanavar would be the first to receive findings when the report is finalised.
He said it was “shameful, unacceptable and hurtful” that a draft was leaked as interested parties were asked privately to respond to perceived inaccuracies.
“All our focus should be on the renewed distress of the family of Savita Halappanavar, particularly her husband. The pain must be unbearable,” Mr Howlin said.
He insisted that Minister Reilly has not yet seen the report - following calls from Sinn Féin Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald that a copy be issued to Mr Halappanavar immediately.
She described the leaking of the report as grossly insensitive.
The Government is expected to examine the final report within the next 10 days.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) inquiry has investigated Mrs Halappanavar’s treatment at Galway University Hospital, where she miscarried and subsequently suffered septicaemia.
She died on October 28.
Her widower claims that doctors refused to carry out an abortion as a foetal heartbeat was present.
Draft findings of the inquiry stated doctors did not respond immediately to calls to attend to Mrs Halappanavar because they were too busy.
It also found that blood tests from the day Mrs Halappanavar was admitted to hospital were not followed up on, and it warned that abortion on medical grounds was not considered early enough in her care.
Mr Howlin confirmed the Health Minister had conveyed his personal concerns about the leaking of the report to Mr Halappanavar.
“Minister Reilly is awaiting the final report of the independent assessor and has reaffirmed his commitment to give Praveen Halappanavar the findings of this report as soon as they come into his possession,” he said.
Dr Reilly had previously warned that the inquiry might be considered incomplete as Mr Halappanavar did not contribute.
The draft report, being examined by all interested parties, found a lack of clear guidelines on the issue of abortion may have been a contributory factor.
Three inquiries were launched into the death, by the HSE, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) and an inquest by coroner Ciaran MacLoughlin in Galway.
Mr Halappanavar has maintained the couple were refused an abortion with one medic telling them it was because Ireland is a Catholic country.
The HSE inquiry – overseen by chairman Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George’s Hospital, University of London - was set up to establish the factual circumstances leading up to her death and recommend actions that will address the factors that led to her death to eliminate or reduce the risk of a repeat.
The inquiry was granted access to all relevant staff and personnel, files and records.
An inquest into the death is set for April 8 and scheduled to last for one week.
more stories like this:
- once per day, no spam.