X-Case legislation urged after woman dies in Galway

The Government is again being urged to legislate for the X-Case, after it emerged a woman in Galway died from septicaemia after suffering a miscarriage.

Inquiries are underway into the death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar, who was told by hospital staff that a termination could not be carried out while a foetal heartbeat was still present.

On October 21 Savita, who was 17 weeks pregnant, went to University Hospital Galway in severe pain.

She was told she was miscarrying her baby and in the following days, her family say she requested a termination, but was told by staff at the facility that it could not be performed as long as there was still a foetal heartbeat.

When the heartbeat stopped, Savita underwent the procedure and was brought to intensive care, but died from septicaemia on October 28.

Both the HSE and University Hospital Galway have launched inquiries into the case, and the hospital has also extended its sympathy to Savita's family.

Meanwhile, campaigners are again urging the Government to legislate for the X-Case, with a protest set to be staged outside the Dáil this evening.

The Galway Roscommon University Hospitals Group issued the following statement:

Firstly, the Galway Roscommon University Hospitals Group wishes to extend its sympathy to the husband, family and friends of Ms Halappanavar.

As you will be aware, we cannot discuss the details of an individual patient with the media.

In the case of a sudden maternal death, these procedures are followed:

notification of the death to the coroner;

notification of the death to the HSE’s National Incident Management Team;

the completion of a maternal death notification form.

All of these procedures were followed by University Hospital Galway.

It is standard practice to review unexpected deaths in line with the HSE's National Incident Management Policy.

The family of the deceased is consulted on the terms of reference, interviewed by the review team and given a copy of the final report.

This review can be completed in about three months.

The review has not yet started as the hospital is waiting to consult with the family of the deceased on the terms of reference.

In general, in relation to media enquiries about issues where there may be onward legal action, we must reserve our position on what action we may take if assertions about a patient’s care are published and we cannot speak for individual doctors or other medical professionals if a report were to name or identify any.

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