Thursday, 15 November 2012

Woman dies of miscarriage in Ireland, having been denied termination

Just in case the world was forgetting what a nation of stupid, hypocritical, backward gobshites Ireland is,  University Hospital Galway saw fit to issue it with a timely reminder.

I speak of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar, who died there needlessly because doctors would not countenance the termination of a miscarried foetus. 

"Ireland is a Catholic country",   she and her fellow Hindu husband were allegedly told.  

Instead of instigating an immediate termination on a foetus that had no chance of survival, they opted to make her wait in agony for three days because the foetus "had a heartbeat".   When they eventually did induce a termination, when said heartbeat had stopped, it was too late for the mother.  

Her organs went into septic shock and she died. 

Is it not strange kind of "pro-life" outlook that will cause two deaths (by its terms) to take place rather than one?   An outlook informed by absolutist religious fundamentalist interpretations of life, and devoid of any kind of commonsense, rationality or logic?

It is an outlook with many subscribers in this country. 

But it is Ireland after all.

The following is taken from the UK's Guardian, to provide some flavour of how others might see it.

Scandal in Ireland as woman dies in Galway 'after being denied abortion'

Health authorities investigating septicaemia death of 31-year-old dentist Savita Halappanavar

Members of anti-abortion groups demonstrating in Dublin last year as a private member's bill proposing legalising abortion in Ireland was debated. The bill did not succeed. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Health authorities in Ireland are investigating the death of a pregnant woman whose husband says she was denied an abortion following severe complications.

Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died of septicaemia a week after presenting with back pain on 21 October at University hospital in Galway, where she was found to be miscarrying.

After the 31-year-old dentist was told that she was miscarrying, her husband reportedly said that she had asked for a medical termination a number of times over a three day period, during which she was in severe pain.

But he said these requests were denied because a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told at one point: "This is a Catholic country."

Medical staff removed the dead foetus days later after the heartbeat stopped but Halappanavar died of septicaemia on 28 October.

Ireland's health service executive, which runs the country's public health care system, has initiated an investigation into the incident, which is also being investigated by the hospital itself.

Reports of the death sparked an outcry on Wednesday night in Ireland, where abortion is illegal unless the life of the woman is in danger.

The Fine Gael/Labour government has struggled to respond to a 2010 ruling by the European court of human rights, which found it had failed to implement laws to enable women to have an abortion when their life is at risk during pregnancy.

Rachel Donnelly, a spokeswoman for pro-choice campaigners in Galway said: "This was an obstetric emergency which should have been dealt with in a routine manner. Yet Irish doctors are restrained from making obvious medical decisions by a fear of potentially severe consequences.

"As the European court ruled, as long as the 1861 Act remains in place, alongside a complete political unwillingness to touch the issue, pregnant women will continue to be unsafe in this country."


Now,  I have no problem with people pursuing whatever religious beliefs they like, though I am an atheist myself.   Whatever makes them happy or gives them comfort.

The problem, however, is when a supposed "republic" is guided by  the supposed morals of one particular religious franchise, which are imposed on its entire population, subscribers or not.   

Welcome to the  Republic of Ireland, twinned with the Republic of  Iran. 


Ponyboy said...

This sad affair is getting a lot of coverage here in Australia for a couple of reasons. Mainly because people here cannot accept the notion that a healthy young woman in need of an urgent (and legal in her case) procedure should find herself trapped within a system so flawed that it resulted in her death. The secondary reason is that most Australians have a dreamy romantic view of the Irish as being such great crack and so friendly that surely they could never countenance a system with the potential to disadvantage someone to the point of death. There is also a great anger here with regard to the sexual abuse of childrenin this country by the religious orders over the past number of decades - all coming to light now despite the attempts of the church upper echelons to resist. A royal Commission has been set up to investigate and will no doubt satisfy its terms of reference and allocate blame accordingly. The reason I mention this is that there was some similar commission in ireland but which took some nine years to complete its work. This has just fallen short of being described as insane by the government of this country and there is a great will to expose that which needs to be exposed and to do it within a reasonable time frame. i expect that the catholic church here will (along with some other religious orders) be exposed for what they truly are and would expect their congregational numbers to drop off further as a result. And not before time. Hopefully when this abortion case in Ireland is discussed in detail the truth of the church's involvement in the system which caused this young lady's death will finally become apparent to those who just should know better. I would have thought that the country would have moved on with the influx of new people with new ideas to the country not to mention the variety of viewpoints available through the Net but I don't think it has because this case places Ireland firmly back in the time when that defenceless and very pregnant fourteen yr old lay in front of a statue of the BVM as the only straw left to her to grasp at for help. You're right GM Ireland/Iran - god fucking helpus

Anonymous said...

This is undoubtedly a tragic case but first indications are that an abortion would not have saved Savita Halappanavar.

There appears to be no dispute that she died of septicaemia. If she had the bug in her system when she came to hospital (as is often the case) then she should have been on antibiotics administered intravenously as soon as her waters broke. If it wasn't spotted and wasn't treated in this way then the risk of a dying was very high and an abortion would not have changed that.


The Gombeen Man said...

Well, "Charles". (I have asked you before to stop posting under different names, but it seems you can't help it. Any further posts from your IP will now be marked as spam.)

You said: “This is undoubtedly a tragic case but first indications are that an abortion would not have saved Savita Halappanavar.”

"First indications?" Really? "Tragic?" Is that all is? A word that absolves everything in your smug little world far removed from what is going on here.

There is massive consensus here that a termination would have saved the woman's life - even from some Pro-Lifers who are puzzled, as the woman’s life was plainly in danger.

It is also most likely that after three days in agony, having bled from shortly arriving in the hospital she most likely contracted septicaemia there - rather than, as you insultingly imply – having had it before admission.

You, however, are more interested in cheap, student trolling. You are not at a debate now, and this is a serious matter of death, and not life, for no good reason.

I would not expect someone like you to show some respect for a woman who died unnecessarily in Ireland, because medical staff would not make the required intervention to save her life.

DB said...

Looks like Charles is one of the stupid, hypocritical, backward gobshites you refer to GM. What an arsehole.

Anonymous said...

"There is massive consensus here that a termination would have saved the woman's life"

Indeed; nine out of ten newspaper reporters agree.

This is the sort of presumption that we need to watch carefully, as reporters work off each other, assuming that previously reported "facts" have been researched and verified. This is a good example of a "fact" that gets recycled endlessly in the news, until reality intervenes to confirm or contradict it.

A few weeks ago, it was impossible to read an article about the attack in Benghazi that did not state with confidence that a YouTube video inspired it. It was assumed true by every reporter who followed the initial report. We now know that it is at least possible that it was planned ahead of time and the video's posting was a coincidence. Or perhaps it was planned ahead, and the video provided the spark to launch it. Or perhaps the original speculation is correct. We still don't know, and it will likely be a while before we do.

I don't know the source of the presumption that Savita Halappanavar would have survived if she had an abortion in time. My experience leads me to believe that it was someone a reporter talked to early on, someone speaking from emotion or a political agenda, not from expertise in infectious diseases. That doesn't make it untrue, it just makes it suspicious.

I have read several reports, and nowhere have I found a specialist in infectious diseases quoted.

As for the cluster-fuck that is Savita Halappanavar's death in the care of Irish quacks, long experience with the medical racket here prepares me to believe that her death is inexcusable. We see the special blend of institutional arrogance compounded with individual cowardice that sums up Irishness. The last thing any Irish person wants to do is take any sort of independent action, accept any sort of personal responsibility. They'll watch you die in paralysed awe of institutional protocol, and tut about it most sympathetically in the end. Oh, they'll at least pretend to be moved by your pain and loss, all right, but don't expect them to be moved to any sort of action beforehand. Cowardice defines us.

Although I don't know if an abortion would have helped, I believe it should have been first on the list of things to try. Removing the obvious source of a dangerous infection certainly can't make the outcome worse. It might have helped, at least from the PoV of common sense (which, experience reminds us daily, is not always relevant).

An inquiry will almost certainly find that an abortion would not have helped. And while that might actually be true, we will never be able to trust it. The motives for a whitewash are too powerful, and the people involved will be too weak to do more than play along.

I'm well prepared to believe that Savita would be alive today if she had gone into hospital in any other European country.

But she is dead, and her legacy is likely to be that of a sock puppet for abortion rights advocates and the guardians of the old order to fight over. And that might well prove to be the bigger disgrace.


The Gombeen Man said...


You say yourself that "I'm well prepared to believe that Savita would be alive today if she had gone into hospital in any other European country."

There is no excuse for leaving a woman who presented herself in the condition that Savita did, in agony for 3-and-a-half days for want of a termination because an unviable foetus had a heartbeat.

If the controversy ensures that that there will be no such recurrence even on that basis, it will be a good thing.

In my opinion, those who cite this case to push that agenda are justified.

On the broader issue, I think the following extract from the IT's editorial of today is well-worded:

"It is not possible to say categorically that earlier medical intervention to end Savita Halappanavar’s pregnancy by “expediting delivery” of her miscarrying foetus would definitely have saved her life. Medical science is not that certain. Septicaemia can take hold fast, uncontrollably, and devastatingly.

But earlier intervention could have saved her life, and it would have been available to her in many other hospitals (although, for theological rather than medical reasons, not defined as an “abortion”)."

The Irish, or many of them at least, have still not learned from the X-case. This country's public hospitals continue to be informed by Catholic-informed morality, though they are paid for by taxpayers of all religions and none.

The idea of doctors agonising about a foetal heartbeat, while debating at their meetings if the mother's life is in "substantial danger"in such a situation is obscene.

Anonymous said...

GM, I am on your side here. Sort of. I just have this funny commitment to the truth, that's all. When a "theory" is doubtful, I have to say it.

The real issue is that Savita's infection was not treated in time. Where else would you get it? With our eighteenth century system of block grants to institutions, and our two-tier medical apartheid system, it is a wonder that any Irish person survives an encounter with public health care.

The only way her pregnancy is relevant is if the quacks feared to administer antibiotics on behalf of the foetus. That would be a huge scandal. But knowing the level of idiocy and incompetence among Irish medical practitioners as I do, I suspect it was missed, not deliberately left untreated.

I know for a fact that at least some antibiotics can be administered safely to a pregnant woman in huge quantities. I know this from experience. I am not just guessing. My wife's water broke a full day before she went into labour. She developed a horrible infection; her temperature exceeded 106f. Thank god we were in America at the time. She was pumped so full of antibiotics that her temp returned to normal in an hour's time. She and the little fucker she was carrying both turned out no worse for wear.

Poor Savita was doomed the minute she entered an Irish hospital, not because she was pregnant, but because she was sick and the exhausted retards dealing with her ignored the signs.

We can demand that the abortion laws be changed, GM, and I agree that we should. But that's a side issue. I doubt that any such change would have saved Savita's life. I doubt that the foetus figures into this at all. She was doomed by weak, spineless, Irish retards.

Here is a link to WebMD on miscarriage, perhaps not the most authoritative source, but a decent clearinghouse for basic best practices.

Note that abortion is presented as an optional adjunct, not an essential practice. Note in particular: "Watchful waiting. This period of waiting, called expectant management, allows the miscarriage to end naturally while your doctor watches for and treats any complications."

'Treating any complications' is obviously essential. And that's obviously what didn't happen.

Competent medical practitioners would have saved her. How, exactly, does abortion legislation address that deficit?

The HSE needs to be aborted.

Actually,l I wish the Republic of Ireland had been aborted.


Love SMS said...

I don't understand why the EU still retains membership for Ireland! the EU has no qualms about imposing sanctions and all sorts of regulations for non-white nations when it comes to being civilized but here is a white country that denies abortion to a woman based on some medieval law.

Dakota said...

Three days in excrucinating pain. An obvious fact.

The needless loss of a fellow Human being.

No one making a MORAL AND JUST DECISION at the time(?!)

Days to wait for an official response from the medical party involved. Respect lacking as ever.

Vague and haphazard legislation dating back 20 years.

Media adding to the mud. No direct and meaningful accountability sought; hence none given. The story instantly drifts.

Politicians lining up to make amends after the event. Possibly 20years too late. Big surprise...

The Republic of Ireland is as ever nothing more than a cluster of cowards and weasels, high on status and power. Whether it be within an institutional environment or not, basic respect for fellow Human beings is not there.

Predictably this country just get WORSE.

Anonymous said...

This is a tragic case, maybe it will be the turning point that will make the government take action albeit 20 years too late. Has anyone realised that two women died in the Coombe hospital in October within 48 hours of each other after ceaserean sections, where they developed complications afterwards. One was a woman who lived in Clondalkin her twins survived. These cases have not been highlighted

PoneySection said...

@ anonymous "These cases have not been highlighted" I don't get your point re the two C Sections. What are you saying? Please don't let it be that patients die as a result of surgery...Can't wait to hear from you. Oh btw - you're not from Southampton by any chance?

anna said...

disgraceful- poor woman.

and Don't forget Ireland has a Higher abortion rate than the Netherlands- it's just Irish abortions happen abroad.

Anonymous said...

I'm not from Southampton, actually I live in Dublin and the woman was expecting twins. She gave birth to her first baby and was left for 2 days in labour before the 2nd baby was delivered. Which means her uterus was left open to infection.