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Ireland drops 3 doctors from Savita's death probe team

Updated: November 21, 2012, 6:05 AM IST
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Ireland drops 3 doctors from Savita's death probe team
Savita Halappanavar died from blood poisoning after doctors allegedly refused to terminate her pregnancy, telling her that this is a Catholic country.

New Delhi: Ireland has dropped three doctors of the Galway University Hospital from the team that will probe death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died due to pregnancy-related complications after being denied abortion.

An announcement in this regard was made by Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Parliament barely within hours of unveiling of a seven-member team to probe the tragic death.

Irish media reports say that doctors who were looking after Savita will also be questioned. Her husband Praveen Halappanavar had earlier refused to talk to the investigators, saying he would not consent to their viewing his wife's medical records as three of the Galway hospital's senior doctors were part of the team. Halappanavar had also asked for a full public and independent inquiry.

31-year-old Savita, who was 17 weeks pregnant, was found to be miscarrying and wanted an abortion. But the doctors declined saying theirs is a Catholic country and they cannot abort a foetus. The dead foetus was later removed and Savita was taken to the high dependency unit and then the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia on October 28. An autopsy carried out two days later found she died of septicaemia "documented ante-mortem" and E coli ESBL.

The case highlighted Ireland's failure to ensure implementation of the 1992 Supreme Court judgment allowing abortion in cases where pregnancy places lives at risk. The court had found this should be the only exception to Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion.

Two years ago, the European Court of Human Rights had also ruled that Ireland was placing pregnant women in jeopardy by not providing a clear law defining when life-saving abortions can be performed.

The government, however, insists on not presenting any abortion legislation until probe into Savita's death is completed in February. It also vowed to block an opposition bill unveiled yesterday seeking Parliament's immediate approval of the 1992 Supreme Court judgment.

With Additional Inputs From PTI

First Published: November 21, 2012, 6:05 AM IST
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