Woman dies in Galway after being denied termination

(1000 Posts)
AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 07:07:12

Holy evil pro-life bastards, batman

The wonder is it that there haven't been more angry

RIP Savita Halappanavar sad

JakeBullet Wed 14-Nov-12 07:15:03

It's horrendous, and negligent too as even in Ireland there is provision for termination when the life of the mother is in danger. I know septicaemia can be very rapid and unpredictable but this baby was not going to survive. To keep this pregnancy going for the sake of the foetal heartbeat lasting a few more days beggars belief. This is negligence and I hope they are prosecuted.

DownTheRabidHole Wed 14-Nov-12 07:34:04

I wonder if she was even TOLD that her husband could drive her up to Belfast and get this fixed!? They were knowledge immigrants working (him) for Boston Technology so probably unaware of the fact they could drive for help.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 07:35:57

No, there is no provision to protect the right to life of the mother.

Successive governments have refused to legislate the X-case ruling.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 07:38:56

It's fucking shameful that a miscarrying woman would be driving around Ireland to seek medical treatment in a less misogynistic jurisdiction.

Do women who move to Ireland understand their vulnerability if they should get pregnant?

44SoStartingOver Wed 14-Nov-12 07:40:18

Clearly laws dating from 1860s are going to reflect the best for people today. Medical knowledge has not changed since then.

Am livid at this.

FrankWippery Wed 14-Nov-12 07:42:36

Makes me so very sad and angry. The woman was told days before that there was no hope for the baby, so why on earth did they not do something. Surely a living human being is more important than a baby who will not survive/was already dead in utero.

There is very very little that I hold strong views on, but this is one of those few. sadangry

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 14-Nov-12 08:20:57

I'm anti abortion and even I think this is outrageous. A pointless waste of life.

I hope it makes the Irish legislators stop and think.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 08:28:07

"Surely a living human being is more important than a baby who will not survive/was already dead in utero."

No, not in the Republic of Ireland.

TheHairyDieter Wed 14-Nov-12 08:31:02

I live in a country where abortion is illegal and those carrying out abortions face death by firing squad. However, even here they have a provision whereby they can terminate the pregnancy if the mother's health is in danger.

addictedismoving Wed 14-Nov-12 08:33:09

thats disgusting. I'm shocked that that was alowed to happen 'this is a catholic country' ffs. a living human is without a doubt more important than a baby who will not survive.
(and not that I want to get into this argument, but I'm pro-life, I just felt the need to say were not all heartless bastards)

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 08:39:54

" a living human is without a doubt more important than a baby who will not survive."

But if the foetus might survive, then what?

addictedismoving Wed 14-Nov-12 08:41:31

athing in this circumstance that argument doesnt matter, the baby wasnt going to survive. and I for one am not getting into this argument, My beliefs are complicated and personal smile

MrsBucketxx Wed 14-Nov-12 08:45:43

thats a terrible story, how can an apparently civilized nation allow this to happen,

needless death if ever there was one.

athing your totally right.

ll31 Wed 14-Nov-12 08:48:19

Sadly, The only thing unusual about this case is that the mother died. Because of lack of legislation to implement the abortion referendum , this happens. SiMilarly women with babies who cannot survive outside uterus cannot have them delivered early or terminated/aborted.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 08:50:49

addicted - this woman lost her life because under Irish law women are not more important than the foetuses they carry.

So you are wrong, it absolutely is relevant.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Wed 14-Nov-12 08:52:42

That poor, poor woman.

addictedismoving Wed 14-Nov-12 09:23:06

Athing, I think if a womans life is in danger then she should absolutely be alowed an abortion, I also think that where the baby's life is in danger abortions should be alowed.
I have quite clearly stated I think what happened is awful and should not have happened, I do not in any way condone the actions of the dr's, nurses, mw's or anyone else that saw that poor woman and refused the abortion.
When I said " a living human is without a doubt more important than a baby who will not survive." I was regurgating and agreeing with what frank and then your self had already said.
I am also not the only one to have said they are pro life on this thread.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 09:37:38

" I do not in any way condone the actions of the dr's, nurses, mw's or anyone else that saw that poor woman and refused the abortion."

Well then you don't understand the invidious position they were in.

The Irish constitution gives rights to the foetus that are "equal to" those of its host. Despite a Supreme Court decision and ECHR decision, no legislation has been forthcoming to give a woman any rights to abortion even where her life is in danger.

Presumably the medical staff who attended her didn't think she would die and were following their legal advice that they would face criminal prosecution if they performed an abortion while the foetus was still alive.

It is not the medical staff who have blood on their hands here, it's the pro-lifers who have lobbied and demonstrated and told barefaced lies and who have made it politically impossible for women in Ireland to have their basic human right to life protected.

zanz1bar Wed 14-Nov-12 09:58:11

Horrific, shocking, disgusting when will Ireland put womens rights first above that of the church.

zanz1bar Wed 14-Nov-12 10:00:33

i am sitting here fuming, if ever there was a clear medical reason to save a womens life this was it.

HappyTurquoise Wed 14-Nov-12 10:19:59

Negligence bordering on manslaughter/murder. They lost sight of their duty of care to the mother. With the people responsible should be prosecuted and struck off, or if the haven't got a law in place to protect mothers in these situations, they should change the law. Clearly 'driving up to Belfast' in cases like this has been going on for so long that they have stopped caring about/for such people south of the border. It isn't an acceptable solution, it must put a lot of strain on Belfast hospitals, as well as putting the mothers at risk while being driven up there. How many more women have to die just so the Republic of Ireland can hang on to this horrendous malpractice?

HappyTurquoise Wed 14-Nov-12 10:24:29

I can't open the link to see the gestation of the baby...could they not have performed a c-section?

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 10:28:39

She was 17 weeks pregnant.

Oh my God. This is just...horrific. I'm actually panicky just thinking about how this was allowed to happen. That poor, poor woman.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 14-Nov-12 10:42:32

Happy they would not do anything to end the life of the foetus - they would not induce labour or perform a c-section while the foetus still had a heart beat even though the mother's waters had broken and there was no chance of the foetus surviving. As soon as the foetal heart stopped beating they performed surgery to remove the foetus, but it was too late by then. Utterly horrific, and I hope someone faces charges for this. I doubt it somehow though.

lurkingaround Wed 14-Nov-12 10:43:02

This is truly an awful event.

AThingInYourLife has put it very well. It is pro-lifers who cannot/won't/refuse to think outside of the box, and feel they have a right to force their beliefs on the world, these are the people with a death on their hands.

I wonder how they will justify this death.

Xiaoxiong Wed 14-Nov-12 10:46:54

This is why you cannot have equal priority enshrined in law of the life of the fetus with the life of the mother. The mother's health HAS to take priority or they will both die.

This is such a tragic event because it was completely preventable.

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 10:56:21

Poor woman, and her poor poor DH who has now lost his wife and all the future babies they could have had.
Criminally tragic.

The best we can hope for out of this is that the medical team forced to make this decision (and goodness, they must be feeling wretched) LEAD (along with others) a strong move to get the law changed. Who would want to go into medecine and be forced to let a woman die so needlessly?

And hopefully national and international outrage will be stirred up and the shameful, mediaeval, misogynist thinking enshrined in Irish law will come under a harsh spotlight.

The Irish government and the catholic church have no right to treat women as disposable. To effectively imprison women in their own bodies, left to certain death. angry. Actually angry barely covers it.

We fight the Taliban and this is sanctioned, piously sanctioned, just across the Irish sea?

I am writing my letter now while my rage is boiling.

Some0ne Wed 14-Nov-12 10:58:31

Just to clarify, I don't know why exactly, but 'driving to Belfast' wouldn't have been an option. Irish women in this position have to go overseas, not just across the border.

LIttleMcF Wed 14-Nov-12 11:00:04

This tragic case is one of clinical negligence. Abortion is legal if it occurs during lifesaving treatment of the mother. They were clinically wrong in their assessment of Savita. The staff were negligent and should be thoroughly ashamed and held to account. I'm horrified and heartbroken for this poor woman's family.

PanickingIdiot Wed 14-Nov-12 11:01:34

I don't really understand how it was allowed to happen, even in Ireland. I hope it's just a one-off fuckup and not what they normally do in a similar case, but it's not quite clear from the article.

I'm not sure I could live in a country like that.

bankofbigland Wed 14-Nov-12 11:02:58

The doctors were not "forced" to do anything. They should have acted in he best interests of the woman in front of them fighting for her life. They should have had the balls to risk going to prison to do the right thing. Cowards.

SundaeGirl Wed 14-Nov-12 11:04:23

I hope her husband drags Ireland through the courts. Fucking vile culture of misogyny.

Some0ne Wed 14-Nov-12 11:04:46

Good post Calming.

I can't for the life of me see why there should be any mention of religion in a medical discussion.

Some0ne Wed 14-Nov-12 11:06:15

I hope her husband drags Ireland through the courts. Fucking vile culture of misogyny.
Please don't tar the entire country with the same brush. Everyone over here is just as horrified at the barbarity of it as you are.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 11:08:15

It's not a one off.

Not by a long shot.

It's just that Savita and her family didn't understand what they were dealing with.

bankofbigland Wed 14-Nov-12 11:08:35

Someone - if you are all horrified in Ireland - rise up and do something about it.

Bloody hell.

bankofbigland Wed 14-Nov-12 11:10:56

"Pro-life". what a joke.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 11:11:07

"Please don't tar the entire country with the same brush."


Vile culture of misogyny barely comes close to capturing the appalling treatment of pregnant women under Irish law.

Being all appalled when the totally fucking inevitable happens is hand-wringing nonsense.

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 11:11:08

If it is right that the responsibility here rests with a negligent medical team I nevertheless hope that the government and church are not able to shrug this off and wash their hands of it - for the account of her DH stronly implies that the hospital believed it was following protocol.

Sympathy and support to Irish women and men enduring these throwback laws, and protesting them.

Lottapianos Wed 14-Nov-12 11:12:11

'Fucking vile culture of misogyny'

I know not everyone in Ireland is anti-abortion but I do agree that there is a culture of misogyny there. As a poster on another thread says, there is a culture of 'do what I say, not what I do' and non-conformity is generally frowned on. People are generally brought up to be absolutely deferential to those in power. Successive governments have failed to address the abortion issue - I know that most people in the country are actually pro-choice but the country's leaders take a 'not on our turf' approach to the issue. So women are treated as second-class (at best) citizens

It is really appalling that Turkey (for example) has not been allowed to join the EU because of human rights abuses, but Ireland is considered to be a core member and a civilised, modern country.

pigletmania Wed 14-Nov-12 11:12:47

So they killed another human being for this hmm angry. The government and all involved in this woman's death have blood on their hands

ilovetermtime Wed 14-Nov-12 11:13:13

I agree with athing, we can't blame the medical staff for this, they were operating within the law.

WeShouldOpenABar Wed 14-Nov-12 11:16:15

there was a massive march last month in dublin calling for the x case to be legislated for , the turnout was large and initially massively under reported , its not the people who let this happen its the government who refuse to legislate and the media who refuse to report correctly.

The catholic churches hold on Ireland as a nation has loosened greatly but we are not being given the chance to show this through referendums , they are still a loud voice but are largely ignored by everyone but politicians

bankofbigland Wed 14-Nov-12 11:16:26

"The hospital was only following protocal"

smacks of "i was just following orders"

Do doctors, social workers etc need pieces of paper to tell them what is right?

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 11:16:54

The hospital was following protocol

The pro-lifers who created the conditions under which such inhumanely protocol became necessary are now lying and pretending this was a freakish one off.

It wasn't.

It is the logical outcome of the policies they support.

JuliaScurr Wed 14-Nov-12 11:18:30


JuliaScurr Wed 14-Nov-12 11:19:04
swooosh Wed 14-Nov-12 11:19:21

Truly horrific. I work in a private hospital in England and often work night shifts. We regularly get calls from Irish girls begging for help and asking if we do abortions, which we don't. It's so awful to hear them. sad

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 14-Nov-12 11:20:05

This is horrific.

What I don't understand is why, if it is clear a woman is miscarrying, any procedure to hasten the foetus' exit can still be called an abortion?

Evil, evil, evil bastards. I hope they're fucking happy with themselves but I imagine hardcore pro-lifers will say hers is a rare case, and that it's worth losing a few women here and there to save all those embryos. Or they'll say that there could have been a miracle. Or some shit about the child being in its mothers arms in heaven, so that's OK then.

Horrific. I agree that the pro-life lobby who fight against changing laws to protect the mothers have her blood on their hands.

If you make an act such as abortion illegal, then you endorse criminal action against those who perform or are part of that act. And law abiding professionals will choose protection for themselves and their careers over protecting life.

I wish people could distinguish between feeling sad about something as a concept: "I wish there were less abortions in the world, it is a sad thing"
And wanting to actively criminalise other people by legislating against abortion. "I'd rather you died or went to prison than you have an abortion safely and legally"

Like the frightening pro-life republicans who want to legislate to make abortion illegal except in cases of rape or incest. How exactly do they think this would work in practice? Who are they going to prosecute, how will they judge who is legal and who isn't? Who gets rights over their own body, and who is denied those rights? It's a ridiculous, unworkable, dangerous concept.

I hope her death isn't entirely in vain. I hope laws change after this heinous event so that other women don't go through this.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 11:25:16

"What I don't understand is why, if it is clear a woman is miscarrying, any procedure to hasten the foetus' exit can still be called an abortion?"

Because an Irish foetus had rights of its own.

If a born person has a heartbeat but you know they will die, you don't get to kill them.

Same for a foetus here. Until the foetus was dead the medical team were havi g to balance the competing rights to life of woman and foetus.

And so the woman died.

BornSour Wed 14-Nov-12 11:27:39

This is why its so important to give women rights over their own bodies.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 14-Nov-12 11:28:35

I didn't realise the Irish establishment was quite so insane.

Comparisons with the Taliban aren't actually that far off the mark, are they?

Lottapianos Wed 14-Nov-12 11:28:47

'Or they'll say that there could have been a miracle. Or some shit about the child being in its mothers arms in heaven, so that's OK then'

They will probably take a 'tragic but them's the breaks' attitude. They will certainly be just as devastated about the death of the foetus as they are about the death of an adult woman, who leaves a husband, family and friends behind to grieve for her.

Lottapianos Wed 14-Nov-12 11:29:39

'Comparisons with the Taliban aren't actually that far off the mark, are they?'

No, they're not sad

Curtsey Wed 14-Nov-12 11:30:07

The Catholic Church don't actually have much to do with this situation at this point in time. The Government, in the year 2012, is not obliged to them - indeed Enda Kenny has gone out of his way to emphasise this when it suits them. Blaming the CC is a bit of a red herring.

The specific fault lies with:

The Irish Government - too cowardly to introduce a new referendum

Youth Defence and similiar militant and bullying pro-life movements - who are religiously motivated, yes, but who are not specifically allied with the CC. Their recent shock campaigns have frightened and confused many people and I personally have witnessed scores of dazed-looking schoolgoers wander up to their street tables to sign their names in support.

It remains to be seen if there were other medical malpractices involved, but thanks to the current lack of legislation, this was a situation just waiting to happen. Fucking appalling.

EasilyBored Wed 14-Nov-12 11:30:20

That is utterly heartbreaking. Her poor husband and family. To know you are going to lose your baby, and then to lose your wife, when it could have been prevented must just be like living a nightmare.

I have a lot of feelings about the abortion debate, but they all come down to the fact that I just cannot accept that it is reasonable to start a discussion from the viewpoint that women should ever not have 100% autonomy over their own bodies. We would never engage in a discussion about whether it is legitimate for a man to be required to donate plasma/blood every week for the next 18 years of his life - starting from the point that this is a totally reasonable and rational thing to expect. I can't word it properly because it makes me so so so furious, but this is a really good article to explain how I feel:


sieglinde Wed 14-Nov-12 11:32:41

Utterly horrible... but I've had septicemia twice myself, once from a natural miscarriage and once after giving birth to ds1, when I pointed it out to the registrar myself.. sad. Why were no or insufficient antibiotics prescribed? There's more to it than the abortion question; sounds like overall care was very wonky.

beginnings Wed 14-Nov-12 11:32:54

someone I don't know how old you are but it was either your or your parents' generation that allowed abortion to be made unconstitutional in 1982 and it was your and my generation that has allowed successive governments to not get their fingers out and legislate on the basis of the Supreme Court's judgment in the X case 20 years ago. My parents voted (and campaigned) for a no vote in 1982 but sadly as the pro-life campaign had come out of nowhere and the country was what it was back then, that was a largely pointless exercise.

We cannot and should not make excuses along the lines of "not everyone here thinks like that." It is the responsibility to of every thinking person in the country to be on the doorstep of their TD today demanding legislative development to clear up this shameful shameful situation.

I'm ashamed to be Irish today.

beginnings Wed 14-Nov-12 11:34:57

Curtsey we don't need another referendum. You're never going to boil the complexities of this area into a constitutional article anyway. We need legislation. The X case allows for it. The lack of legislation is where the governmental cowardice lies.

MummytoMog Wed 14-Nov-12 11:35:00

My god. I just don't understand how this can be allowed to happen in a supposedly civilised country. Death from the complications of miscarriage is very rare, and she was extremely unlucky, but to be begging for help and denied it sad

suburbophobe Wed 14-Nov-12 11:36:29

I live in a country where abortion is illegal and those carrying out abortions face death by firing squad.

OMG! Words fail me.

Thank God I live where I do.

CheerfulYank Wed 14-Nov-12 11:37:18

Oh my dear God, that poor poor woman. sad

I'm another who is "iffy" on certain things regarding abortion, but this is really beyond ridiculous. The poor woman was miscarrying anyway! angry

seeker Wed 14-Nov-12 11:37:47

The pro lifers have her blood on their hands.

The Catholic church has her blood on their hands.

No amount of twisting and weaselling and "it was a one off" can get away from that.

And we must not let them get away with it.

EasilyBored Wed 14-Nov-12 11:38:07

^Exactly suburb. But I imagine that quite a lot of people would look at a country like ROI and think that something like that would never happen in a modern, civilised country like that.

Theala Wed 14-Nov-12 11:40:02

This "Being all appalled when the totally fucking inevitable happens is hand-wringing nonsense."

and this someone I don't know how old you are but it was either your or your parents' generation that allowed abortion to be made unconstitutional in 1982 and it was your and my generation that has allowed successive governments to not get their fingers out and legislate on the basis of the Supreme Court's judgment in the X case 20 years ago.

I was a teenager when the X case happened and I remember marching for her right and the rights of other irish women for automony over their own bodies. We warned at the time that something like this would happen. We told you what might happen when a foetus has more rights than its mother.

Don't fucking say now you weren't warned and that you didn't know and how appalled everyone is. You reap what you sow.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 11:40:08

We should have a referendum to remove every mention of abortion from the constitution.

Irish women's rights will not be fully restored until the offensive eighth amendment is done away with. That is where foetuses are given equal rights to the mother (against legal advice).

BellaTheGymnast Wed 14-Nov-12 11:45:37

Thanks for the link, juliascurr.

Can someone clarify the legal position please? In ROI is it illegal to perform a termination even if the mother's life is in danger? Is it the same in NI, or, if the mother's life is in danger a termination is allowed?

I'm sure many people in the UK don't realise that in a part of their country abortion is illegal.

BellaTheGymnast Wed 14-Nov-12 11:53:52

This from the Guardian article:
"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."

Surely then there is an issue here with doctors not realising her life was in danger?

I had an induction at 20 weeks last year due to medical reasons.

My cervix failed and my waters broke at 18+5, then my cervix started to close again. We decided to wait it out unless I showed signs of infection.

Unfortunately when the cervix started to shut the babies feet were in it and I started to show signs of infection at 19+6 so was given pesserys.

I don't know how much longer i would of had to wait for the heartbeat to stop.

Dp is from the ROI, I'm bloody glad we decided not to move over there now. That poor women and her family

Curtsey Wed 14-Nov-12 11:54:56

beginnings - you are quite right: new legislation is what I had meant to say. The ruling is quite clear - so where is the legislation?

AThing such an referendum would draw out every misogynistic fucker who couldn't be arsed to vote in the children's rights referendum last weekend. Guaranteed.

willitbe Wed 14-Nov-12 11:57:48

Terminations are allowed and done in Ireland where the life of the mother is at stake, eg ectopic pregnancies following the court ruling with case x 20 years ago. The legislation is up in the air though due to the issue of whether threat of suicide on the part of the mother, is going to be allowed as a reason for termination. Therefore the "working committee", are still trying to establish exactly what the rules are for determining whether the life of the mother is at threat.

beginnings Wed 14-Nov-12 11:59:08

Theala I think you misunderstood my post. I agree with you. I too was a teenager in 1992. In fact, I was the same age as she was. I marched. I wrote to my TDs, I had stand up rows in college with every member of SPUC and Youth Defence who dared to get in my way. But what we can't get away from is that it is the majority of our apathetic generation who have let this situation go on. We did warn them. Every fucking sensible person in the world warned them and still for reasons that are beyond my comprehension the situation is allowed to persist. We live in a democracy for fuck's sake. Why on earth has this situation persisted??? I just don't understand why we can't force a change.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 12:00:03


IANAL, but there is no clear legal position here.

The 8th amendment to the Irish constitution (1983?) gives a foetus equal rights to its mother. That obviously means a pregnant Irish woman's right toile is severely compromised.

About 20 years ago, after the X case (where a suicidal 14 year old who had been raped by her uncle was refused leave to travel to England for a termination) the Supreme Court said that in the situation of a serious threat to the life of the mother (not just a threat to her health) she was entitled to an abortion in Ireland.

The pro-lifers went apeshit and have been blocking all attempts to legislate for that judgment.

So, in theory, Irish women have a very limited legal right to abortion. In practise it is a serious criminal offence to perform an abortion and Irish doctors are terrified to do it.

Curtsey Wed 14-Nov-12 12:00:07

Regarding terminations in the case of ectopic pregnancies, etc. - Fintan O'Toole has written about this here

gussiegrips Wed 14-Nov-12 12:00:55

But, she wasn't even seeking a termination. She was in need of medical help.

This is a disgrace, this sort of death should not happen in the West.

It shouldn't happen anywhere else either - but, for women far away from free healthcare it is, tragically, inevitable that a miscarriage can cause a fatal infection . This woman was on a hospital ward - being denied basic care. A vet would treat an animal better than this woman.

That is criminal.

I look forward to seeing the investigation into the clinical decisions, the culture of the hospital, the policies that were in place - and the legal and moral responsibilities of everyone who had involvement directly or indirectly.

Though, that will be of little comfort to those who loved her.

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 12:01:26

Seeker - yes, the pro-lifers and the CC have blood on their hands because this is the outcome, the logical and predicatable outcome, of what they demand and believe in.

However, they merely influence and lobby the government. Those with responsiibility for this blood are those that give in to demands for women to be disposable.

This is the logical, predicatable outcome of thei venal weakness. NO government with a mandate to protect thier citizens in a fair and equal manner should allow for the possibility of this.

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 12:03:35

Is there an Irish minister who should be made aware of this thread? As an example of the views of women and mothers, catholic and non-catholic? Pro-choice and anti-abortion?

stargirl1701 Wed 14-Nov-12 12:03:41

The Catholic Church in Ireland aren't too far away from The Taliban IMO. The shame of the Magdelene (sp) Homes in the past and this lingering influence on the legislature. Shocking. Bloody shocking.

rhetorician Wed 14-Nov-12 12:03:50

curtsey you are so right! and the same fuckers would come out and vote in a gay marriage referendum too. I feel very mixed about this: I am strongly pro-choice, and clearly if she had been in almost any other jurisdiction, she would be recovering - and would have gone on to have other children. But I am a bit uncomfortable about the reporting - this is (whilst undoubtedly true and I've no reason to doubt her husband or family) an uncorroborated story; at no point was this an 'abortion' or a 'termination', it was a miscarriage that could have been speeded up with medical intervention - and there was no reason not to provide that intervention, other than the ideology prevailing in that hospital (which is well known to be very pro-life). I worry that the storms of protest will compromise the legal case. There was clearly mismanagement of her case.

CheerfulYank Wed 14-Nov-12 12:07:00

Why in the world did they not realize she was dying??

cafebistro Wed 14-Nov-12 12:10:45

This is disgusting sad. I gave birth to DC2 in Galway hospital and luck enough to have a very straight forward pregnancy. It's unbelieveable to think that women still have no right to choose abortion in a country so developed as Ireland.
I feel so sorry for her husband.

Bella, perhaps the doctors didn't realise that her life was in danger. Perhaps the sick, desperate, miscarrying, pleading, suffering and obviously infected woman they were charged to care for somehow looked like a safe bet to ignore until the decision was taken out of their hands.

If so, they bet on her life and she lost.

(and it is obscene that she had to be in such danger for her to receive medical care)

Or perhaps they knew she had septicaemia and knew her foetus was inevitably going to be lost and they still prevaricated until it was too late for her.

Perhaps because the Irish constitution has left them hugely exposed to prosecution by failing to legislate properly to protect the woman's life, to protect doctors who are responsible for saving her life. Perhaps they wanted to do the right thing but were fearful of prosecution.

Or perhaps they did feel, as militant anti-abortion supporters do, that it was better to risk her life than do the right thing.

I don't know which. But if legislation was in place to protect women's rights then there wouldn't have been any question about how this scenario would have played out. And that poor woman would be with her family, grieving her own loss but alive to rebuild her future.

It's horrendous.
It was clear this foetus stood no chance of survival, that she was miscarrying.
Now there have been two deaths, one of them entirely unnecessary.

rhetorician Wed 14-Nov-12 12:12:27

the developing septacaemia seems to have begun before the foetus died - but this is the critical information and we don't have a detailed enough knowledge of the timescale. Please note: I am appalled and outraged by this, but I think there's a lot of wild speculation (and yes, people from both sides jumping all over the scant details of the case) - it's hard to know whether, for example, the phrase 'medical termination' was used, and by whom, and what they meant by it.

yummymummytobe1 Wed 14-Nov-12 12:14:04

That poor family, my thoughts are with them.

In the modern world it would appear that there are still countries that deny women choice. This beggers belief how can those in the Republic of Ireland condone such outdated and outmoded ideals. Shame on those that do and may this awful situation haunt you forever.

I hope the family sue, I would want that if something like this was to happen to me in the future.

Actually that terminology needs to be looked at as well.
My induced labour after my daughter was already dead and had been for two weeks was still noted as a termination in my medical notes.

stillorsparkling Wed 14-Nov-12 12:15:54

"This tragic case is one of clinical negligence. Abortion is legal if it occurs during lifesaving treatment of the mother. They were clinically wrong in their assessment of Savita. The staff were negligent and should be thoroughly ashamed and held to account"

No it is not clincial neglivence. The wording of the constitution effectively means that termination will only be allowed if there is a probabillity of death to mother , not possiblity.

IN this case was not more likely than not that leaving the foetus in situ would kill the mother, It put her life at risk certainly but not at sufficient risk to say that death was the probable result, The fact that the foetus was going do die anyway is irrelevant as a matter of irish law.

This was not negligence. This happened as a direct result of the state of the law in Ireland. Agree with all posters upthread who make the point that THEY WERE WARNED this could and would happen.

Report on Morning Ireland this morning was to the effect that someone had a miscarriage and died and is being investigated ho hum next story, Even the reporting of the Irish Times was predictablly limp.

Mainstream media, particulary state run will hush this one up and underreport the reaction. Govt again will wait for furore to die down and do nothing. We have to create as much of a fuss abroad as possible to embarrass the Irish Govt into doing something to remedy this horrific state of affairs. Its disgusting.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 12:18:41

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

AnyaKnowIt Wed 14-Nov-12 12:20:23

Even if the woman had lived, why should she have spent days in pain miscarrying when she could have had a termination. The foetus wasn't going to survive either way.

kige Wed 14-Nov-12 12:23:47

Manslaughter IMO. The only thing to consider is who is responsible for the manslaughter - the govt or the doctor. Whoever is responsible should be prosecuted.

AmberLeaf Wed 14-Nov-12 12:24:24

What a disgrace.

Spot on Crikey Ohare

stargirl1701 Wed 14-Nov-12 12:24:52

Can this be fought under Human Rights legislation? Ireland is a member of the EU - are they also signatories to the European Court of Justice?

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 12:30:46

"This was not negligence. This happened as a direct result of the state of the law in Ireland. Agree with all posters upthread who make the point that THEY WERE WARNED this could and would happen."
I am not sure about this. She was not looking for a termination. A termination was the only possible medical treatment to allow her to survive. In any case, what is legal and what a doctor should do are different things. If instead of a pregnant women we were speaking about the legal cover for a doctor to perform torture, we would clearly see how the legal cover is not enough

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 12:31:47

StillOrSparkling: what is the best way to get this story to the people in Ireland who only have the limp media version, and to let the Irish gvt know how they are being viewed internationally?

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 12:32:33

Yes this case could potentially finsih in the European Court of Human Rights and, while they have taken a very soft approach to the antiabortion laws in Ireland in the past based on something they call 'margin of appreciation' this case may make them change their mind

DyeInTheEar Wed 14-Nov-12 12:34:44

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."

It's the sort of thing that you'd read about the Taliban doing or something a moron in the Tea Party / far right America would endorse.

She was begging for her life for THREE days.

Well done medical staff involved & pro lifers in Ireland - I now consider you in the ball park as the men who shot a young girl for having the temerity for wanting an education because you put your religious beliefs ahead of (female) life.

LadyBeagle Wed 14-Nov-12 12:34:47

That's a question I was wanting to ask stargirl.
I wonder if cases like these could be brought before the European Court of Human Rights.
I would be interested to hear from any Human Rights Lawyers.

BellaTheGymnast Wed 14-Nov-12 12:34:53

Thanks for the legal stuff. Absolutely horrifying all round.

Just a thought for the "catholic country" topic, abortion is illegal in NI too, which is part of the UK.

galwaygal Wed 14-Nov-12 12:36:55

How do we know that the foetus was not going to survive? A friend of mine had her waters go at 17 weeks in the same hospital, and was kept in hospital until she gave birth at 33 weeks (only a few weeks ago) to a healthy baby. However my friend was wanting to give her baby a chance.

The husband is reported to say that his wife requested a termination for three days in a row before she died. This put the staff in a difficult position, unless there was a clear indication that the feotus was dead or that the woman's life was actually at risk, then they were not in a legal position to proceed with doing much other than giving antibiotics to help prevent infection.

Whether she was given antibiotics, or how quickly the septicemia was detected, or number of other medical issues are clearly going to need to be investigated.

Within the last two years Ireland has had investigations into many misdiagnosis of miscarriage. Where ERPC operations have been carried out where only one scan done and where mothers who have refused to go through the ERPC have gone on to have healthy babies. I have had personal experience of misdiagnosis at this very hospital in question.

I have had extremely bad treatment and managmenet for recurrent miscarriage at this hospital and put in more than one complaint agianst this hospital, but my complaints have been buried in paperwork and just being offered to see yet another doctor being the solution. Letters carefully worded by the hospital implying that my complaints have been resolved - without changes actually appearing to be implimented. I hope that this case might get some changes happening, especially regarding the legislation for termination of pregnancy, but in reality a doubt anything will happen.

ukatlast Wed 14-Nov-12 12:36:59

I don't post often but logged on to register my disgust that this could have happened in Western Europe in this day and age to a woman already in hospital thinking she was being cared for in accordance with modern medical standards. My first thought was also how can Eire be in the EU with such lack of appropriate Law, to protect a pregnant miscarrying woman's right to life.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 14-Nov-12 12:38:25

sad What a terrible situation. It must not be allowed to carry on.

My thoughts are with Savita's husband and family.

glastocat Wed 14-Nov-12 12:38:56

I am angry, appalled and ashamed tobe Irish. I am also very fucking relieved that I am emigrating soon, and getting the hell away from this backwards bloody country.

Badvocsanta Wed 14-Nov-12 12:42:48

And yet another reason I am pro choice.

MummytoKatie Wed 14-Nov-12 12:43:02

It's so sad. I feel so sad for the dad who a month ago thought he was going to be a husband and a father and now is neither.

I also don't think that this is pro life. Pro life is about saving as many lives as you can. Once the probability of the mother dying becomes greater than probability of baby surviving then the pro life action is to terminate and save the life you can.

In this case the probability of the poor baby living was effectively nil so she should have been offered a termination straight away. That would have saved a life.

(Not saying that that should be the law but that logic dictates that if you are 100% pro life and give mother and baby equal weight then this is how to maximise life.)

stillorsparkling Wed 14-Nov-12 12:43:11


Her family have stated that she asked repeatedly for a termination when it became clear that her foetus could not survive. She was left in severe pain for 4 days. On the 4th day the heartbeat stopped . By that stage she was actually sick. She died following surgery to remove the foetus

Sceptecemia is a well known although rare complication of prolonged miscarriage because the neck of the womb is left open allowing infection to enter. Had this woman been in the UK and she had gone to hospital it would have all been over in a few hours. Her life was placed at a known risk because under irish law until the Drs could say she would probabally die they could nto take any steps to end her pregnancy. They will say that because sceptcemia is relatively rare her life was not at serious risk so they could not take steps that would hasten the death of the foetus. The fact that as far as the foetus was concerned death was inevitable was irrelevant.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 12:46:38

I understand that stillorsparkiling. What I am saying is that this is not a case where a woman (for whatever many reasons) seeks medical assistance for a termination. This is a woman, who knowing she cannot save the life of her child, asks for a termination. This is what I meant.

The fact that the death of the foetus is inevitable is relevant in my opinion. The doctors are following a regulation instead of a mandate to save a life.

galwaygal Wed 14-Nov-12 12:47:57

Again I ask - how does anyone know that the foetal death was inevitable? Have any of the news reports explained this?

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Wed 14-Nov-12 12:48:48

In this particular case it isn't following the law that caused the woman's death.

The hospital made a mistake. They didn't diagnose that she had an infection. If they had, they could have treated that infection, as they are (and have been for years) allowed to treat women for illnesses even if the result is the death of the foetus.

For example, they are allowed to do a hysterectomy on a pregnant woman at risk from cervical cancer.

The hospital was negligent, imo.

Galwaygal your post is so full of confusion.

Her requesting a termination for three days isn't what put the doctors in a difficult position. It isn't this patient's responsibility to make the doctors feel comfortable.
The lack of legislation is what put them in a difficult position.

And as to the "how do we know the foetus wouldn't survive against all odds?" question?
Well, it seems the doctors were clear she was miscarrying at 17 weeks. It seems clear that she was infected, in pain, suffering and begging. This was a wanted baby from the start. That a mother should have to beg doctors to assist her as she miscarries a wanted baby is dreadful enough.

But a situation where there has to be an impossible burden of proof that the mother will "probably" die, and the baby is "probably" miscarrying is the situation that has created this abhorrent result. When you are dying, you shouldn't have to prove that you are dying before you receive medical care that civilised countries provide as a human right.

You cannot support criminalising terminations at all costs without understanding that this is the cost.

A woman should have the right to her own life, and the right to her own bodily integrity. At all costs.

TeaAndHugs Wed 14-Nov-12 12:50:41

Sick. The 17-week foetus had no chance of survival. Savita did. But the doctors did nothing.

The really tragic thing is that abortion to save the mother's life is legal under Irish law, but doctors are scared to act because there are no guidelines about when they can intervene without risking prosecution.

Sounds like there are several protests happening, in Ireland and in London, to ask the Irish govt to sort out the unclear abortion law. Anyone going to one?

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Wed 14-Nov-12 12:52:44

It's actually much more simple that abortion/not abortion, imo.

They should have diagnosed and treated her infection earlier. Treating her infection would have involved the foetus being delivered/removed/whatever term you want to use.

Claiming the law stopped them from treating her is disingenuous.

The Independent report states it was clear to hospital staff that Savita was miscarrying.

ICBINEG Wed 14-Nov-12 12:54:59

This is just so very fucked up. Can someone remind me which millenium it is?

I assume that where the treatment involves causing the direct or indirect death of the foetus there is deemed to be a conflict of interest in the law, MaryZez.

Since the law deems both to have equal rights I believe.

brdgrl Wed 14-Nov-12 12:55:49

Clearly 'driving up to Belfast' in cases like this has been going on for so long that they have stopped caring about/for such people south of the border.

On the contrary. Northern Ireland's very first abortion clinic opened less than a month ago. It will offer abortions in the first nine weeks.

The UK's 1967 Abortion Act does not apply to Northern Ireland.

Some scans offered elsewhere are not available on NHS here, on the basis that even if (certain types of) abnormaility were suspected, termination would not be considered an option. Termination in a Northern Irish hospital happens only in cases where the mother's life is in imminent danger and must be approved by multiple doctors.

Like women in the Republic, women in the North have had to go to England for terminations.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 14-Nov-12 12:56:29

Poor woman, and my heart goes out to her family.

A stupid law, as nobody should have the right to tell another person they have to complete a pregnancy.
Its disgusting in this day and age. Those who support pro life should be ashamed as maybe this situation is not what they believe in, but as they still support this stupid law imo are part of the problem not the solution.

TeaAndHugs Wed 14-Nov-12 12:56:33

Galwaygal - the fetus was 17 weeks old. At that point, it has ZERO chance of survival outside the womb. Savita's cervix was already open and she was leaking amniotic fluid. There's no way back from that, labor is going to happen sooner or later. There's no way she could have clung on for another 7 weeks to reach viability.


galwaygal Wed 14-Nov-12 13:03:54

verylittlecarrot - Firstly to make it clear I in no way "support criminalising terminations at all costs". I think that criminalising terminations is wrong. But I also don't think all the facts have come out about what happened in this case and I think that people are making statements about the case without explaining where it came from.

My friend had her waters go at 17 weeks and the baby survived healthy, at this same hospital very recently - if this was the same situation with this woman how would the midwives know that miscarriage was inevitable? They had a success story fresh in their minds, my friend with waters gone at 17 weeks was given a 50/50 chance, surely this would have been the same odds given to this woman?

The woman became infected, however we don't know at what point this happened or if the hospital were failing to act in spotting the infection or treating it or the risk of it appropriately.

Yes I agree the lack of legislation is what put the doctors in a difficult situation. IF the doctors knew that the miscarriage was inevitable, then they have failed grossly in their duty to comply with the woman's wishes.

seeker Wed 14-Nov-12 13:11:19

Galwaygal- I'm sorry, but your friend's baby was not born healthy at 17 weeks gestation. This is just a medical impossibility.

galwaygal, I didn't mean you personally supporting criminalising abortions, rather Ireland's laws do this.
My point about whether the baby would survive is that it should be irrelevant. The fact that the law needs an amount of proof on this question is what puts womens' lives in danger.
Although, according to her husband, the doctors were not in any doubt in her particular case.
“The doctor told us the cervix was fully dilated, amniotic fluid was leaking and unfortunately the baby wouldn’t survive.” The doctor, he says, said it should be over in a few hours. There followed three days, he says, of the foetal heartbeat being checked several times a day.

“Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy. The consultant said, ‘As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’.

“Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do.

“That evening she developed shakes and shivering and she was vomiting. She went to use the toilet and she collapsed. There were big alarms and a doctor took bloods and started her on antibiotics.

“The next morning I said she was so sick and asked again that they just end it, but they said they couldn’t.”

This is so distressing.

To be fair I don't think Galway was saying the baby was born at 17 weeks, further up she states the pregnancy continued to 33 weeks.

To do that with no infection at that early gestation is very, very rare though.

galwaygal Wed 14-Nov-12 13:18:14

teaandhugs - thank you for the link. My friend had her waters go and kept leaking (kept replenishing as they do), from 17 to 33 weeks when she gave birth to a healthy baby. In this very hospital very recently. So they could not say the baby would definitely not survive, the odds are against it happening (we call my friends baby a miracle baby!), but it is this sort of situation where the doctors in Ireland are in a very difficult situation.

Even where situations exist where a woman knows that her baby will not survive, that death is inevitable, the law still forbids termination. A different woman that is a friend of my SIL, had a known condition, and had already had one pregnancy where she had to give birth to a dead baby late in pregnancy, had a second pregnancy where at 14weeks the condition was confirmed genetically with the pregnancy. She was not allowed to terminate the pregnancy. She got around this by going for dental surgury where she was given high levels of drugs including morphine that induced the labour and they were able to end the pregnancy early. She fortunately went on to later have healthy baby.

The refusal to allow termination under the circumstances where baby had zero chance of survival I think is very wrong.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 13:18:34

verylittlecarrot, I agree that the fact that the foetus is not going to survive 'should be' irrlevant. But in this particular case, I think it makes for a good case of negligence,if not homicide as pointed out by someone else above.
A doctor, or anybody in charge of saving lives cannot hide behind the 'difficulty' of the decision according to a set of regulations to fail so blantly in their main duty.
The woman developed 'shakes/shivering/vomiting/collapses/' is taken blood showing infection and they still insist on waiting for a heartbeat to stop. It is crazy

scarletforya Wed 14-Nov-12 13:20:37

The poor husband has just been on Newstalk there. It is so heartbreaking and needless. Savita was a Hindu. He couldn't understand why these 'laws' were being imposed on her. sad thanks RIP Savita and her baby.

Theala Wed 14-Nov-12 13:22:55

beginnings Sorry for the confusion. I did understand your post and was in total agreement. The 'you' in my posst was addressed to the politicians and no-voters in the various referendums who are responsible for this appalling situation. That wasn't at all clear because I was on a total rant, sorry.

sieglinde Wed 14-Nov-12 13:23:30

Well, sorry to wreck the rage party, but what actually went wrong was the use of antibiotics or lack thereof; it's been my experience too that hospitals are very sluggish to give them even when all the symptoms of an infection are present. This has happened to me twice, once after a miscarriage, so I speak without any agenda except rather grim experience.

Ending the pregnancy could only have been part of the solution.

Caoimhe Wed 14-Nov-12 13:24:35

What a terrible story! That poor woman and her poor husband.

Ireland really needs to try and drag itself out of the flippin' dark ages. Shame on Enda Kenny and the rest of his scummy, cowardly government.

I agree, camaleon, it is crazy.

But I imagine it is not beyond the realm of imagination that the doctors might have been prosecuted for an "illegal termination" had they treated her for infection and induced the miscarriage. Because there will be people who will argue that the foetus "might have survived" and the mother's life "might not have been obviously at risk" and the current laws allow credibility and support to such arguments, although they should not.

sieglinde : "sorry to wreck the rage party"?

fusam Wed 14-Nov-12 13:28:27

Poor woman. How barbaric sad

scarletforya Wed 14-Nov-12 13:29:23

The responsibility here lies with successive Governments kicking the can down the road when it comes to Abortion legislation.

Doctors are terrified of litigation as Ireland is such a litigious nation. Seems here they were more frightened of a malpractice accusation than of a womans death. [mad]

whiteandyelloworchid Wed 14-Nov-12 13:29:49

her poor husband.
my heart goes out to him.

rip mummy and baby xxx

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 13:32:20

Sieglinde, I do not think you are wrecking any rage party. I believe this is actually a case, where medical bad practice is camouflage by some 'following the rules' excuse. Because she was a woman and she was pregnant, she died. And some will argue, that precisely because of those facts (which only add to her vulnerability) the doctors were protected by law

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 14-Nov-12 13:33:12

This is a bit like what happened to Angela Carder: a culture of institutionalized woman-hating has led to medical staff prioritizing the life of a dying foetus over that of a woman.

SecondRow Wed 14-Nov-12 13:33:45

sieglinde and previous posters who said we do not have the whole story - and indeed pouring over her complete medical records in the media would be questionable anyway - what I would really like to know more about is whether there is an evidence-based protocol for handling prolonged miscarriage which the hospital did or did not adhere to, and whether such a protocol includes prophylactic use of antibiotics before the signs of infection are there - I wonder what would speak against that? As MaryZ said, even if it were harmful to the foetus (which I don't know) they are still allowed to do that to treat the woman.

It seems like the point at which the husband said she was put on antibiotics was way too late, why is this not a standard part of the protocol when the cervix is open and infection is likely?

scarletforya Wed 14-Nov-12 13:35:22

We don't know. Seemingly the inquest will take 3 months.

sieglinde Wed 14-Nov-12 13:23:30
"Well, sorry to wreck the rage party, but what actually went wrong was the use of antibiotics or lack thereof;"

Well done on the most inappropriate post of the day.

If you don't feel rage at this poor woman begging for help and being denied a medically necessary induction for three days and then dying as a result, then that speaks volumes about you.

And if you feel "what actually went wrong" is NOT the above, but in fact that earlier antibiotics would have been a wonderful cure-all for her pitiful situation, you are deluding yourself. She got the infection because she her body, with its fully dilated cervix was forced to hang on to a miscarrying foetus for three days. The antibiotics, whilst an important part of her treatment, can not fix this negligence. They were given when the infection was apparent. I would argue that she should have had the termination three days earlier and antibiotics at the same time.

You seem to be able to ignore the entire issue which is the denial of the termination.

sieglinde Wed 14-Nov-12 13:44:53

Prolonged miscarriage is typically treated as normal and one is usually left to bleed at home even fairly late in pregnancy. Believe me, I know.

My point is that we should not overlook the separate but equally misogynistic treatment of miscarriage as 'normal' and the ridiculous lack of knowledge of the common pp infections that follow it. Rage seldom promotes clearheaded thinking.

Camaleon, I agree entirely; medical bad practice is indeed the issue here, and questions of foetal 'rights' have nothing at all to do with the basic failure to diagnose and treat the infection in a timely manner. I'm not arguing for prophlaxis, but for due attention to early symptoms, with which dispiritingly few are acquainted, and for a big broad-spectrum early dose.

Without a hefty dose of antibiotics, abortion would not repeat not have resolved the problem.

Without a hefty dose of antibiotics, abortion would not repeat not have resolved the problem.

And without abortion, presumably antibiotics alone would not have resolved the problem.

Or do you believe that her being forced to keep the foetus inside her for three days was irrelevant to the medical outcome?

5madthings Wed 14-Nov-12 13:50:55

galway yes waters can leak andcreseal but this womans cervix was completely dilated, there is no way in that situation that the baby can survive. The infection would have/did kill the baby. Had thar not happened and the baby had actually continued to grow it simply would have put more pressure on the cervix and highly unlikely that it would have developed to a viable gestation

This is a horrific case and it is abhorrent and appalling that this woman was left to suffer like this, horrible waste of life sad

5madthings Wed 14-Nov-12 13:52:34

Exactly carrot they needed to give her antibiotics and remove the fetus. They did both too late sad

sieglinde Wed 14-Nov-12 13:57:05

verylittle, I'm not sure, is the short answer. The fact that the cervix was fully dilated is likely to be just as material.

It's true that eventually an infection could be caused by a mature decomposing foetus, but there's no evidence that this happened here.

On the face of it, and without the poor woman's chart I'd say horses, not zebras - infection can occur with or without a dead foetus as long as the cervix is open.

Why do you assume I am arguing about a termination? I'm making a separate but germane point about crap treatment of infections.

sieglinde, you sound as if you have medical knowledge, which I do not. Yet I'm still confused about your stance. Her cervix was open, as you say, for three days.

If she had been given the termination she requested, along with antibiotics, as soon as she requested it, I assume her cervix would then be closed and the threat of life-threatening infection would have been reduced for those three days, instead of being allowed to progress.

Is that not correct?

DyeInTheEar Wed 14-Nov-12 14:12:59

I think it's also the fact they were told "this is a Catholic Country" that makes this about abortion / foetal rights and not just about whether or not it was simply a case of her needing antibiotics.

What an awful, upsetting story. My heart goes out to her husband.

I do hope things change very, very soon.

server ate my post
sieglinde, to answer your question "Why do you assume I am arguing about a termination?"
Because that was the thrust of this thread until you wrote "Well, sorry to wreck the rage party, but what actually went wrong was..."
which implies that the denial of the termination for three days is NOT "what actually went wrong"
And the use of the word "rage party" also insensitively suggests that there is some sort of unsavoury glee being enjoyed along here with misguided outrage.
When in fact rage is an entirely appropriate response to this situation. And I doubt anyone is enjoying this discussion.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 14:24:38

of course it is an 'abortion' case. They used the abortion laws as an excuse for what looks as a hideous medical treatment, and I would argue that the comment about the 'catholic country', makes it also borderline xenophobic/racist/ or whatever. Under the circumsntances, a mother in a foreing country, miscarrying and probably feeling as terrible as you can expect to end dying, was 'reminded' that she was not at home.

seems to me that even per the Irish abortion law, she should have gotten a termination as she wasn't attempting nor were the doctors attempting to procure a miscarriage which I think is the definition used?

She was already having one spontaneously. But if this case raises awareness about abortion in the Republic, then that's a good thing.

My prediction is that the doctors will be held negligent and the misogynistic abortion law in Ireland will be swept under the carpet

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 14:32:34

sieglinde Wed 14-Nov-12 13:23:30

'Well, sorry to wreck the rage party'

What very poor taste you have.

sieglinde Wed 14-Nov-12 14:41:36

Sorry to hear that, squoosh. Just rage doesn't make for reason.

slug Wed 14-Nov-12 14:41:42

Rage is often a more of a catalyst to action though. And is actually a genuine empathetic human reaction to an injustice. Rage is appropriate here.

sieglinde Wed 14-Nov-12 14:46:31

Verylittle... Well, apologies, then, because that was no my intent at all. My point was really purely medical and not at all about Irish abortion law. I still doubt that the termination on its own would have saved her, and I think many here are assuming that it would have. I was really on the same page as you, I think - pointing to the misogynist neglect of her and her medical needs.

As for the rage, all I meant and mean is that everyone is expressing the same view and overlooking another layer, which is the generally careless and incompetent treatment of miscarrying women.

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 14:47:10

First off, all we have pending an investigation is the husband's idea of what happened, which may be wrong. Innocent until proven guilty and all that. I'm Irish (and from Galway) and can never recall a case like this before, despite the existence of a very vigorous and open debate on abortion in the Irish Republic. Secondly, I get slightly weary of British people telling us that Irish abortion law is anti-woman blah blah, when very substantial numbers of Irishwomen do not favour any great liberalisation on the issue. The Irish Republic has had something like four referendums on abortion in the last twenty years, and if I recall correctly women voters were not significantly more or less pro-choice than male ones.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 14:48:58

I think Irish women are entitled to rage, should be encouraged to rage, after seeing how the avoidance at all costs of the vote losing abortion issue has failed this woman in the most shocking possible way.

Maybe some rage will finally galvanise some action. Who knows they may get around to putting some legislation in place!

DyeInTheEar Wed 14-Nov-12 14:49:24

sieglinde - "rage party" absolutely sounds sneery and derogatory and I don't see the comment adding any "reason" to this important discussion.

You could easily have come in a said this could be about Anti Bs rather than foetal rights and moved the debate on and deeper. Important point IMO which was lost in a rather condescending post in which it rather sounded like you thought we were all getting "our knickers in a twist".

However, the poor woman was in pain for 3 days, told she was having miscarriage, was left and was told that Ireland was a Catholic Country. Not getting access to Anti Bs was not the only issue here.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 14:52:29

somewherewest, You are right we are speaking based on what is not proven in a court of law.
Moth referendums on death penalty also favour death penalty. The majority of a population can decide awful things about the minority or the most vulnerable.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 14:52:42

somewherewest 'vigorous and open debate on abortion in the Irish Republic'?

You think? Funny, as an Irish woman myself, all I see is an issue being shipped off to England or swept under a carpet.

galwaygal Wed 14-Nov-12 14:53:26

ilovemydogandmrobama - as long as a heartbeat was present then under Irish law the doctors could not act unless the woman's life is at threat, as they would be at risk of criminal prosecution. It would appear that they kept monitoring for the heartbeat and did an erpc as soon as the heartbeat stopped.

But the hospital failed to treat the infection effectively. It is not usual in that hospital to treat with antibiotics without proof of infection, and the very clear signs of infection clearly came to late, for effective treatment to save the woman. Should all women who are miscarrying be treated with antibiotics? Did the hospital test for infection too late?

5madthings - you say "The infection would have/did kill the baby. Had thar not happened and the baby had actually continued to grow it simply would have put more pressure on the cervix and highly unlikely that it would have developed to a viable gestation" My point is that my friend had this very unlikely outcome of survival with dilated cervix and continued leaking waters, and did beat the odds have her baby did reach viable gestation and was born healthy in that same hospital only weeks earlier. This could have been fresh in some of the minds of the doctors and nurses there too.
I agree with you that "This is a horrific case and it is abhorrent and appalling that this woman was left to suffer like this, horrible waste of life"

I think that the comment of it being a "Catholic country" was totally inappropriate, and unprofessional of the doctor who said it. In the same hospital I was told by a different doctor that I should be "glad it wasn't cancer" when talking about the histology report of my erpc following miscarriage. The doctors in that hospital need complete retraining in management of miscarriage and how they use words.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 14:55:28

And I think that fixing ourselve sin a more or less unfortunate sentence that sieglinde used is not very useful. Her points are very much in line with the discussion here and add to the thread. Starting a fight among us about that sentence does not seem very relevant.

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 15:05:04

what an appalling tragedy. Irish politicians should be ashamed of themselves - they have this death on their hands. AND Irish doctors who should have been demanding the law be clarified so they can save lives instead of throwing them away. The treatment of women who miscarry sounds barbaric.

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 15:16:03

You think? Funny, as an Irish woman myself, all I see is an issue being shipped off to England or swept under a carpet.

There have been three referendums (not four - my mistake) in 1983, 1992 and 2002, for starters. That is three more than have been held on the issue in the UK. Having lived in both the UK and the Irish Republic I would say that the debate is more open in the latter, in that there are actually two sides.

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 15:18:18

somewhere, the cruel refusal to carry out life-saving treatment is indeed anti-woman. Even if some women agree with that cruelty. A racist action doesn't stop being racist when someone finds one black person who is in favour of it. You don't need a unified opinion from every woman in the country to see that killing women is a. wrong and b. anti-women.

Ireland is in breach of its responsibliities to treat women as human beings under the 2010 Court of Human Rights ruling that 'the state failed to implement existing rights to lawful abortion where a mother's life was at risk'. If some Irish people don't like foreigners telling them they are killing women, perhaps they should stop killing women? And take themselves out of the European Convention on Human Rights, just so we all know what kind of country they want?

galway that is very very rare, the most likely outcome in cases like this is that the waters have broken too early for the lungs to develope properly. Or infection sets in which could kill them both.

As for should all women who are miscarrying be treated with antibiotics yes in the case of later mc where the waters have broken they should. I was. My waters also broke early with ds2&3 and I had antibiotics even without showing signs of infection.

I still think if they'd acted earlier regarding a termination the infection may not have occurred

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:24:05

I have also lived in both the Republic and the UK. I still think Ireland has nothing approaching an open debate on the abortion topic. It's a vote killer, no one touches it.

Referenda are all well and good if you then actually put into place legislation that reflects the voted for amendment. All that's happening at the moment is that Ireland is contravening European Convention on Human Rights for failing to implement the existing constitutional right to a lawful abortion.

ilovesprouts Wed 14-Nov-12 15:24:40

poor woman how shocking she did not get the help sad.

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 15:25:23

Edam Firstly, we do not actually know what happened in this case. So far we have one account of events, which may or may not be accurate. Secondly, you are saying that Ireland is "killing women" based on one case, which has not been investigated yet, and about which we actually know very little. Roughly speaking opinion polls suggest that the concensus in Ireland favours abortion where the life of the mother is at risk. What it does not favour is abortion on demand.

expatinscotland Wed 14-Nov-12 15:26:21

I feel for her family and her husband, who will replay the last days of his life over and over.


expatinscotland Wed 14-Nov-12 15:26:52

her life, sorry.

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 15:27:10

I still think Ireland has nothing approaching an open debate on the abortion topic.

My experience is that both sides are freely represented in Irish public discourse. This is very definitely not the case in the UK.

LadyBeagle Wed 14-Nov-12 15:28:18

Just as a matter of interest, if anybody knows, countries like Spain and Italy are staunchly Catholic.
What are their laws on abortion?

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:28:42

My experience is that both sides are freely represented in Irish public discourse.

But what about the lack of legislation? What is your justification for that?

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:29:47

Abortion available to women in Spain and Italy.

dontlaugh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:30:10

Somewherewest, I'm also Irish, from Galway and have given birth in Galway. You are not in the slightest bit representative of any of my female friends or relations in your opinion that we as a gender or country do not want abortion. 5000+ women who travel for abortion annually would also disagree with you I suspect. Open debate is not a good thing in the context of continually refusing to legislate for something already voted on in a referendum and successively botched or ignored by government after government. The argument about medical mismanagement also has merit I feel, and the overall treatment of miscarriages in Ireland also deserves examination.

DownTheRabidHole Wed 14-Nov-12 15:30:17

LadyBeagle, when Belgium (catholic) legalized abortion in the 80's (?) - the king abdicated for the day as he wanted to make a statement.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:31:07

I think abortion is available up to 14 weeks in both Spain and Italy.

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 15:31:41

Just to add, I think it needs to be reiterated that there are two separate issues when it comes to abortion law in Ireland. The first is abortion where the mother's life is at risk. If I recall correctly recent polls suggest that a really overwhelmingly majority support abortion in those circumstances. Again what is not generally accepted is abortion on demand.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:32:51

Again what is not generally accepted is abortion on demand

Happily this view seems to be changing. Slowly but surely we'll get there.

EasilyBored Wed 14-Nov-12 15:34:30

Well, the 5000+ women who travel abroad each year to access abortion services seem to be in favour of abortion on demand. It's barbaric and ignorant for a country to state that women don't support abortion, when so many women are so desperate to have one, that they are having to leave the country.

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 15:35:03

Being Irish, I remember how we got into the legislative nightmare that lead to this situation. Google the X- case for background knowledge. In 1992 the Supreme Court of Ireland ruled that an abortion could be preformed if continuing with the pregnancy posed a threat to life, as opposed to the health, of the mother. No government since has legislated for this ruling.

I am outraged that this beautiful young woman was left to die slowly IN AGONY while begging for a termination. This can only end in a wrongful death action and the European Courts.

When I stop shaking with rage, I'm sure I'll be in tears over this.

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 15:37:01

somewhere - rubbish. In the UK, anti-abortionists are given as much opportunity to state their views as those in favour of women having basic human rights over their own bodies. I suspect what you are complaining about is that both sides are allowed to speak over here - you want it all your own way.

and rubbish to your attempts to downplay this case. Ireland has not implemented laws to ensure life-saving abortions can be carried out, breaching their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Until that is done, Ireland is happy to kill women.

LadyBeagle Wed 14-Nov-12 15:37:02

That's interesting Squoosh.
It makes we wonder why the catholic Church still has so much power in Ireland, when other Catholic countries have moved with the times.

MrsTwinks Wed 14-Nov-12 15:37:31

This is so sad, I grew up in Galway county, I know people still there and its really horrifing to us that none of us is shocked in any way that this has happened. Appauled, yes, but not surprised.

Reading the thread I have to say I can see both issues. They needed to have acted and been able to act in accordance to her wishes - regardless of if they thought the baby could survive the waters breaking etc it was an extreme long shot and the mother didn't believe the odds were in her favour. That should be enough to anyone pro-life or not.

However, personally I do think the medical staff were negligent within the law in not doing more to be wary of infection. Based on what I've read that is. And that doesn't shock me from personal experiences I know of at the hospital and the medical service in the area. Don't want to out myself by being specific but one instance involved a head injury not being looked after right and developing infection - so like I said not shocked.

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 15:38:49


Again what does it mean to say that people "want" abortion? Abortion in what form? It is far too complex an issue to just talk about being "pro-abortion" or "anti-abortion". We're a democracy. Roughly fifty per cent of our voters are women. It isn't as if some evil oppressive force is lurking out there stopping us introducing a more liberal abortion regime if we as a country intensely desired it. We have already legalised divorce, liberalised our contraception laws in line with western European norms and will have same sex marriage or at the very least civil partnerships pretty soon (most Irish people favour the former in opinion polls if I remember correctly). So a liberalised abortion regime would be perfectly possible if the popular will was there.

Also if they didn't treat her with abs when her waters broke and a feotus is classed as having the same rights as the mother, the hospital should be charged with neglect and inadequate treatment of both of them

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 15:42:00

somewhere - rubbish. In the UK, anti-abortionists are given as much opportunity to state their views as those in favour of women having basic human rights over their own bodies. I suspect what you are complaining about is that both sides are allowed to speak over here - you want it all your own way.

That is actually utter bollocks. Anti-abortionists are utterly invisible in the mainstream UK media. And I'm actually an annoying fence-sitter rather than an ardent pro-lifer or anti-abortionist or whatever the correct term is. I just think this thread needs a corrective.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:44:31

somewherewest I'm sure many UK people would be surprised to learn that you can only get divorced in Ireland if you can prove you have been separated from your spouse for four years.

Some people may also be surprised that condoms only became available for sale in Ireland in 1978.

Yep, we're just always 30 years behind everyone else in many, many issues.

We'll get there though, it just won't be anytime soon.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:45:26

Nadine Dorries certainly isn't invisible.

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 15:48:48

Well, the 5000+ women who travel abroad each year to access abortion services seem to be in favour of abortion on demand. It's barbaric and ignorant for a country to state that women don't support abortion, when so many women are so desperate to have one, that they are having to leave the country.

[Bangs head against wall]. The Irish Republic is a democracy, in which women do actually have the fecking vote. I'm not sure how many times I need to repeat this. I think what we're getting on this thread is a bad case of cognitive dissonance. The reasoning goes like this: Anything less than abortion on demand is "anti-women". Ergo all women everywhere must want abortion on demand. Ergo all Irishwomen must want abortion on demand. And if they don't have it, its because armies of priests are roaming around beating them away from the polling booths with sticks or something.

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 15:50:13

Nadine Dorries certainly isn't invisible.

But she is pretty universally derided. It isn't exactly a level playing field.

elah11 Wed 14-Nov-12 15:50:23

What a horrific and sad case sad

I think it was already mentioned but its not just women living in Ireland who do not have the right to terminate, up until very recently (ie about a month ago) neither did women living in NI which is part of the UK. Even at that they do not have the same rights as women in other parts of the UK, terminations are only done up to 9wks afaik sad

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 15:52:00

Anyway (fun though discussing Irish abortion law obviously is) I should go do some work...

dontlaugh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:52:19

Again, somewherewest, I refer you to the 5000+ women who travel abroad for termination annually. They should not have to leave the country to get this treatment, regardless of their reasons for wanting it. The ECHR agrees and has demanded the Irish gov legislate for this, which Enda Kenny has said he will never do in his tenure as Taoiseach. Why do YOU think successive governments have refused to legislate? The irony, in a week in which we voted yes to the Children's referendum and also joined an EU human rights council. Sadly, irony will not help Savita or her family now.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 15:53:08

Universally derided? Oh, you mean because lots of British people didn't agree with her proposed changes as they are quite happy with the current abortion laws.

Disagreeing isn't the same as deriding.

EasilyBored Wed 14-Nov-12 15:54:48

I don't think all women want abortion on demand, but to not realise that it is necessary to have safe and accessible abortion available for anyone who needs it, and to act in a way that makes it unlikely for this to happne (eg voting against it) is anti-women. Women that vote against abortion are anti-women. Whether they admit it to themselves or, or even see it that way, is a different issue.

It is a very sad situation that could possibly have been avoided on two levels and raises several issues.

I think the first question that is the real and unanswered issue is, would her life been saved had she had the termination? We won't know that for a while.

Women die in childbirth due to infections far to regularly and the fact that this may have been missed until too late is a bigger concern in a country that is meant to have a good level of care is all the more shocking.

There always will be discussions on the rights of the foetus over the rights of the mother. It of course is another big issue that will always cause people on both sides of the fence great upset. What would happen in the UK if Jeremy Hunt was able to lower the limit to 12 weeks and a similar situation arose?

I think many posters need to be careful of blaming Irish politicians and Irish Doctors. Not every Irish Doctor and Politician will hold the same opinion on abortion/termination and it is unfair to tar them all with the same brush.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 16:03:16

Nicknamegrief I'm sorry but successive Irish governments since 1992 have refused to legislate for a constitutional change that was agreed by referendum by the Irish people in order to deal with these kinds of situation.

Of course they are to blame.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 16:05:43

I believe in law abortion is illegal with no exceptions only in two countries in the world: Chile & Ireland

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 16:06:38

So the clear majority of the world population (if we have to use majority arguments, which I do not really agree with) thinks that a total ban is not a good idea

BooyhooRemembering Wed 14-Nov-12 16:09:32

have only read to page 4 of this thread but i have the horrible feeling that the "this is a catholic country" comment was possibly a dig at the woman and the fact that she was not catholic.

LadyBeagle Wed 14-Nov-12 16:11:11

Why Squoosh , or any other Irish on here.
Ireland is a modern country and a member of the Eu.
What is it about Ireland that they can't give the same human rights re abortion as opposed to countries like Italy, the home of the Vatican?

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 16:13:18

nicknamegrief I don't think we need to be careful before we blame the Irish doctors and politicians. Successive single party and coalition governments have failed since 1992 to legislate for the X case ruling and have ignored European Courts directives to follow Bunreacht na hEireann and put a damn policy in place. This has lead to doctors unwilling to perform almost all abortions, even in cases where the mothers LIFE is at risk because of the risk of criminal prosecution. And now a woman is dead because of it.

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 16:13:20

nicknamegrief I don't think we need to be careful before we blame the Irish doctors and politicians. Successive single party and coalition governments have failed since 1992 to legislate for the X case ruling and have ignored European Courts directives to follow Bunreacht na hEireann and put a damn policy in place. This has lead to doctors unwilling to perform almost all abortions, even in cases where the mothers LIFE is at risk because of the risk of criminal prosecution. And now a woman is dead because of it.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 16:15:08

Actually the United Nations has listed Ireland as one of the countries allowing abortions when the life of the mother is at risk. Here: www.un.org/esa/population/publications/2011abortion/2011wallchart.pdf
Can anybody tell me whether or not real cases (apart from the Court) exist of this? I mean, do you know any abortion due to the risk to the life ofthe mother.

There is no proof that says she would have lived if she had had the termination. She died (so I am lead to believe) because they missed the infection, a termination may not have meant that they caught the infection and she may well have lost her life even then.

Not every politician will have voted for such legislation and not every doctor would be unwilling to, that is my point. Just because the majority rule does not mean we should blame the minority.

DyeInTheEar Wed 14-Nov-12 16:18:31

I have read - and have been trying to find the article - that being anti abortion is important in Ireland as it's part of the national identity and runs deep. It's part of being Catholic but not just about being Catholic- it's about being an independent republic. It's part of not being English, protestant and very much ingrained within the religious and political DNA. Less about being anti women and more about being pro Irish. It's part of "who we are" if that makes sense.

But I'm not Irish or Catholic and happy to be shot down - it's a vague memory from an article I read years ago.

beginnings Wed 14-Nov-12 16:20:16

Theala - no problem! I think this a day for much ranting. I've been frothing at the mouth for hours - and not always coherently!

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 16:21:10

I think a case of severe medical negligence has been complicated by the fact that the husband has come out and said they requested, and were denied, a termination.

Hanging on and not removing a live foetus is in accordance with the law in Ireland. It is a law many people disagree with, understandably, but it is the law. It is not medically negligent to do this and the chances are the outcome will be painful and awful for the woman (again, a matter of moral, rather than medical, debate) but unproblematic. Savita's life was not in danger when she entered the hospital, and once the infection took hold termination would not have cured it.

However, it is medically negligent not to monitor a woman who has an open cervix, and who has received internal exams, very closely. They should have given her prophylactic antibiotics, or at the very least, done very regular bloods to monitor the risk of infection.

They didn't do this, and as a result a simple EColi infection developed into septicaemia. The infection wasn't discovered until she collapsed. There is no way that should have happened in a modern hospital.

The issue wrt to termination is an incredibly important one, and I do believe she should have been able to have one, in order to spare her the pain of waiting for the baby to die. BUT not having an abortion did not contribute to her death. Medically it doesn't make sense to claim that it did.

Miscarriage is treated appallingly in Irish hospitals - you are basically expected to shut up and get on with it. It could also be the case that Savita was treated carelessly by staff who were annoyed at her foreignness and her repeated requests for abortion. This, of course, is utterly wrong.

But mixing up the abortion issue with her death is only going to muddy the waters. I'm glad people have a fire in their bellies over this. It would be a shame if the whole thing gets bogged down in unfounded accusations.

As others have pointed out there have been multiple referenda on abortion, all resulting in abortion on demand being prohibited. This is the free choice of the people of Ireland. There does need to be solid legislation on the X case but I think abortion is still a long way off for Ireland.

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 16:21:43

ladybeagle It's an urban rural divide mixed with an immigration problem. Ireland tends to pass the buck on legislation from politicians to the people, so we have lots of referendum on different issues. We had three in 15 years on abortion alone. Anyway, Dublin and other cities (but really just Dublin) votes pro-choice, while rural voters lean more pro-life. Secondly, anybody who can't or won't pt up with this kind of crap gets the hell out of Ireland and moves away. There's millions of Irish in England and I'm writing this from NYC. Eventually, you just can't take any more waiting for your basic human rights in Ireland.

Excellent point CallinDana

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 16:27:05

LadyBeagleI wish I knew why Ireland clings to its anti abortion views whilst other arguably more socially conservative countries such as Italy and Spain have legalised it. I do think the Catholic Church is most definitely at the root of the matter though. It’s only really been since the mid 90’s that Catholicism has quite rightly had a massive fall from grace following scandal upon scandal upon scandal. Mass attendances are at an all time low and our current Taoiseach doesn’t seem in thrall to the Vatican compared to his predecessors. But historically Ireland has been slow to adopt legalised social change. Divorce as previously mentioned only became legal in Ireland in 1996.

This gives you an idea of the glacial pace at which legalised social change moves in Ireland. I’m not sure if it’s a rural/urban divide, an age divide or something much more complex. The opening of the first Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast can only be a step in the right direction.

Ireland’s abortion laws make me truly ashamed.

"BUT not having an abortion did not contribute to her death."

How can you possibly know this with such certainty? Are you saying that a prolonged 3 day infected miscarriage with a fully dilated cervix ALWAYS has the same outcome as a quickly terminated miscarriage with immediate AB care?

Is there NO circumstance - EVER - where it would be improve the medical outcome for the mother to terminate immediately rather than allow a 3 day miscarriage?

I don't believe you.

...last post addressed to CailinDana.

galwaygal Wed 14-Nov-12 16:30:15

Moominsarescary - regarding survival after waters braking "that is very very rare, the most likely outcome in cases like this is that the waters have broken too early for the lungs to develope properly..." I know but it can and does happen, equally septecimia is very rare following miscarriage too, but it can still happen.

The doctors were playing with odds of what might happen, infection risk was high and you say "Also if they didn't treat her with abs when her waters broke and a feotus is classed as having the same rights as the mother, the hospital should be charged with neglect and inadequate treatment of both of them" I agree, with this. My friend was not treated with antibiotics, and additionally they made her wait until after she reached 24 weeks until administering steroids to mature the babies lungs, they would not do it even a few hours early! I think that in all later miscarriages where the waters have broken, that antibiotics should be given, and I am confused as to why they always seem to wait til the infection has already taken a hold. This is where I think the mismanagement has occurred along with the stupid comments allegedly made by the doctor regarding it being a Catholic country.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 16:30:22

I don't believe it either.

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 16:34:47

The Medical Council's Ethical Guidelines state that "should a child in utero suffer or lose its life as a side effect of standard medical treatment of the mother, then this is not unethical." These guidelines also state that "refusal by a doctor to treat a woman with a serious illness because she is pregnant would be grounds for complaint and could be considered to be professional misconduct." This is from an Irish Green Paper on maternal mortality in 1999 - don't know whether there's been any more recent guidance that says 'basically, docs, stand aside and let women die'.

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 16:34:55

cailinDana If you are a doctor, I'd love to hear your defense of the handling of this case. You seem to be privy to information that nobody else is. I'll just wait for either of the actual medical inquiries of this situation.

A wrongful death action will be brought in this case. And the medical team will be found wanting.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 16:35:20

It's impossible to know when she picked up the infection. Having an abortion could have made things worse, it's impossible to tell. Either way, abortion does not clear infection, antibiotics do. So saying that abortion would have cured her doesn't make sense.

Plenty of women labour for three days with no waters and an open cervix. That in itself is not a life-threatening position to be in. However, not being monitored for infection in that circumstance is completely wrong - that is what contributed to her death.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 16:35:56

I wonder if the doctor who treated Savita attended this symposium.


sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 16:36:10

I think one of the main reason why Savita's death has hit the headlines is that her family have gone public. There have been and continue to be horrendous cases of women and (lack of) reproductive rights over the years. Kerry babies, Anne Lovett, Magdalen Homes, x case, case c.
I am not Irish but have lived in Ireland for most of my life, both north and south.
I went to school in co galway during the 1983 referendum. What went on then was not a debate, it was pro life brainwashing. Even now, the amount of shame women ar made to carry is unbelievable. I know a lot of women who travelled to England but have never been able to speak about it because of the fear of being judged. For women in the north who want to attend appointments at the family planning organisation, it means they have to run the gauntlet if plackard waving pro lifers.
Women's right to choose remains a taboo topic and many women who support it are to scared to speak out or be seen in public because of repercussions in terms of family or work.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 16:38:48

The fact that she was in pain for three days when the baby wasn't viable was awful, just awful, and that is what people should be get het up about. She should have had an abortion, definitely, I do not argue with that at all. However, the infection issue is a separate thing, and claiming that an abortion would have saved her life doesn't make sense at all - there's no medical reason to believe that. What would have saved her life was proper monitoring and the sensible use of antibiotics.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 16:40:22

Oh and you can imagine what fun pro-lifers would have had if she had had an abortion, then got an infection and died. Outrage akimbo.

You didn't answer my question CailinDana.
Are you a medical professional?

Having an abortion would have allowed her to have her uterus begin to heal on the Monday and her cervix close then.
Are you suggesting this wouldn't have helped?

Plenty of women do XYZ and don't die does not equate to XYZ being safe for all women.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 16:44:32

I'm not medical, no. I speak from the facts of the case, which are pretty clear. Even if her cervix had closed on Monday, if she already had the infection, it would have made no difference. Why on earth didn't they give her antibiotics?? It just seems so basic.

dontlaugh Wed 14-Nov-12 16:46:20

I'm not so sure about Enda Kenny's distance from the Vatican www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0924/1224324323933.html. He's part of a Centrist Democrat (ex Christian democrat) group that met the pope recently.

expatinscotland Wed 14-Nov-12 16:46:23

She should never have been allowed to suffer like that. I can only imagine how her husband feels, living with that.

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 16:47:03

The Catholic Church likes to pretend the prohibition on abortion is absolute. Yet it has swung back and forth over the centuries, at some times being permitted up to 'quickening' (i.e. when you can feel the baby move).

Any real medical experts around who can tell us whether quickly terminating plus antibiotics has a preferable medical outcome to labouring for three days fully dilated plus antibiotics?

Because I suppose I'm suggesting that antibiotics may have been medically necessary from the start, but that the termination would have absolutely improved her chances.

I'd like some actual facts on whether this is a reasonable assumption.

gloomywinters2 Wed 14-Nov-12 16:48:09

Thats terrible and the poor man has now lost his wife sad

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 16:49:01

cailinDana * Having an abortion could have made things worse, it's impossible to tell.*

To a satisfiable degree of certainty, the medical inquiry will actually clear this up.

Science- it's just like magic, but without the lies.

Surely what she was also asking for was for her miscarriage to be medically managed, it is annoying that this seems to be ignored.

In my mind (although in my experience doctors use the terms interchangeably) an abortion is different from a medically managed miscarriage. Even if it the same procedure. Surely the pro lifers could see a difference?

Because when CailinDana states so confidently "Even if her cervix had closed on Monday, if she already had the infection, it would have made no difference."
I think, what nonsense. It would have made a difference. Antibiotics are not magic. If open wounds need to be cleaned and closed to have a chance of healing, antibiotics or no, then surely an open cervix is an environment which invites an infection to worsen.

axure Wed 14-Nov-12 16:54:06

I don't think the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast could have carried out a termination as they only do them up to 9 weeks I think. I live in NI and the situation is not much better, despite being in the UK. I had a termination when I lived in England, no regrets at all. I dread to think what I would have done had I lived here at the time. People are vehemently anti-abortion both Protestant and Catholic, very much believe that children are gifts from God etc. I've told a few people about my abortion and have been advised to keep it to myself as I would be regarded as a murderer. I feel so sorry for the Indian gentleman, losing his beautiful wife for no good reason. Now they'll never get to bring a baby into the world. Religion sucks.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 14-Nov-12 16:54:40

Anything less than abortion on demand is anti-women. I consider 'pro-lifers' on a par with racists, and the sort of whining bucketheads who insist that their superstitions and tender feelngs matter more than the lives of other women (so they will support restricted abortion rights on the grounds that abortion in certain circumstances makes them feel a bit icky) to be on the same moral level as people who say 'But some of my best friends are [member of ethnic group that is not theirs].

If you don't like abortions, don't have one. But keep your imaginary friends and your self-important bullshit out of other women's wombs and lives.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 16:55:08

I don't see how Mixxy. A post mortem infection won't show how and when she picked the infection up. Verylittle - having a medical procedure like an abortion carries its own infection risk - it would be perfectly acceptable to claim that having an abortion would have put her in more danger rather than less. Women die from post-abortion infection as much as post-miscarriage infection.

Like I said, labouring for three days with an open cervix isn't unusual and is not a life-threatening situation. It was the infection that killed her, not the fact that she didn't have an abortion.

what is the law in other Catholic countries, Italy, most of South America, France etc?

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 16:56:16

I dont think it is helpful to go through the medical issues here. Of course women get infections at any stage of childbirth, termination etc and if an infection is not treated appropriately women die.
For me the point is there was a foetus who was not viable. This was not a threatened, but a inevitable miscarriage. A late miscarriage is distressing enough in itself.
Why should a woman be left in pain and distress for days if putting her on a drip and swift delivery would have solved that part. Antibiotics were quite obviously needed as well.
This is not so much about medical negligence bit about the fact that the "rights" of a non viable foetus had priority over the integrity of a woman.
I am by the way very conciously the term foetus. As someone who lost a baby at around that stage of development, i feel that the baby i am still grieving is what the foetus i gave birth to was in my hopes going to grow into.

Verylittlecarrot, I don't know but you or someone else might in the UK when you have a miscarriage or termination do they routinely hand out antibiotics?

I have had a missed miscarriage that was medically managed but have no recollection of being given antibiotics but aware that my case is different.

Lottapianos Wed 14-Nov-12 16:57:21

'Anything less than abortion on demand is anti-women'

Completely agree

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 16:57:51

Sorry that should say "A post mortem won't show how and when she picked the infection up."

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 16:57:51

'Plenty of women labour for three days with no waters and an open cervix' - maybe in Ireland. In the UK, a woman 17 weeks pregnant would NOT be made to labour for three days after her waters broke, actually.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 16:59:14

So every single woman whose waters break has their baby within three days in the UK edam? Every single one?

nailak Wed 14-Nov-12 17:01:16

I don't get it, when people miscarry are they not given choice of natural or medical termination? Is it always dangerous for people to choose the natural option? if so then why do people choose it?

BooyhooRemembering Wed 14-Nov-12 17:01:43

can't a post mortem show how developed the infection was and give an idea of when the infection started?

i have no medical experience, i am genuinely asking this question.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 17:02:17

You categorically state things that are not at all so clear.
It does not seem so clear to me that 'it is the law' as you said in earlir post. There is jurisprudence establishing the exception. I guess that the United Nations table I have posted above was done with the information provided by the government itself.
Secondly, as I have stated before, it is very unclear that, as a doctor, you should not be ethically forced to save a life if there is no other benefit from not saving it.
We may discuss the facts. Perhaps the doctors could not know/did not do enough to know if the life of the mother was at risk; perhaps a termination was irrelevant. Or perhaps the fact that the baby was dying inside her was not a fantastic thing to improve her own infection.
Whatever the case, if it is true thatt she was reminded that she was a foreigner this would demonstrate a high degree of cruelty and mistreatment. She was made feel worse because she ask for a termination, after knowing that she was losing her baby while she was in agony herself.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:02:46

No it's not always dangerous nailak. Choosing a natural miscarriage is a viable option, but most doctors advise close monitoring due to exactly what went wrong here - infection.

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 17:02:51

And in the UK women are OFFERED a choice of induction or expectant management if their waters break but they don't go into labour. The NHS may not be perfect, but it doesn't deliberately leave women to die.

It's true that there are several aspects to this story, crap medical care and attittudes to women enduring a miscarriage amongst them. But that doesn't detract from the relevance of abortion. It is the anti-abortion law that the hospital used as an excuse to leave this woman to die.

Buildabetterworld Wed 14-Nov-12 17:03:58

I had a miscarriage in England and was prescribed antibiotics by the hospital doctors when the miscarriage was confirmed by scan.

juule Wed 14-Nov-12 17:04:30

I was under the impression that if the waters broke and the baby still hadn't been delivered then abs would be started.

For my mmcs I was told that the sooner the m/c was complete the less risk of infection. I opted for erpc and was given abs after the procedure.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 17:05:25

A woman who has an onevitable miscarriage should have the right to medical management. When i lost my baby at 20 weeks i was offered medical management in the Royal in Belfast. However there was no heartbeat. Where, when and how savita picked up the infection is really not the issue.

Buildabetterworld Wed 14-Nov-12 17:06:20

To add, I had a natural miscarriage, no medical management. It went on for two weeks.

5madthings Wed 14-Nov-12 17:07:03

Generally if a baby isnt delivered withjn 24hrs of waters breaking then labour is induced/speeded up and antibiotics given unless a woman refuses as she has rhe right to do. (term preg obv)

Earlier in preg will depend on viability, the womans requests after 24wks ateroids would be offeted, they would if appropriate try and stop labour to improve odds of baby surviving and this would include precautionary antibiotics.

Before viability like the woman in question they would offer a medically assisted miscarriage if that was what the woman wanted and that would include antibiotics.

Its barbaric that she was left to suffer in this way.

twofingerstoGideon Wed 14-Nov-12 17:07:12

I only got as far as this on the first page:

I'm anti abortion and even I think this is outrageous. A pointless waste of life. I hope it makes the Irish legislators stop and think.

Well, to the person who wrote that, I hope it makes you stop and think... (along with all the other anti-abortionists*)

*Will not call them 'pro life' for obvious reasons.

I don't know the answer to that Nicknamegrief.

However, the assumption by some is that it was infection and failure to treat that infection with antibiotics that is the only medical issue here. Further, some are arguing that provided antibiotics are used to treat the infection, a swift medically managed miscarriage has NO BENEFIT over allowing a woman to labour for three days.

I want to know the truth about this because I don't know the answer. I want some facts rather than opinions.

Narked Wed 14-Nov-12 17:08:13

They gave her antibiotics. She was monitored. She showed all the warning signs - chills and fever. They left her to die.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:08:58

"And in the UK women are OFFERED a choice of induction or expectant management if their waters break but they don't go into labour. The NHS may not be perfect, but it doesn't deliberately leave women to die."

I don't really understand this paragraph edam. Do you believe Savita was "deliberately left to die"?

Women in Ireland are also offered induction if their waters break. I'm not sure what your point is here either.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 17:09:41

I opted to manage without acceletation as i knew i was starting to go into labour myself but o had the CHOICE

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:10:14

Narked - they gave her antibiotics too late, after the infection had developed. "They left her to die" - could you explain that?

5madthings Wed 14-Nov-12 17:10:40

By performing the abortion they would be dealing with the source if the infection and in conjunction with antibiotics that would have given her a better chance at fighting the infection?

Ds2 waters broke at 35 weeks cervix was closed. labour started 5 days later, I had 2 days of iv antibiotics and was on oral abs the rest of the time. Tests on the placenta showed signs of infection probably because the waters had been gone for so long

Ds3 waters broke at 31 weeks, cervix closed. Was born 6 days later. Abs given again and placenta showing signs of infection probably due to waters breaking so long before.

Ds4 waters broke 18+4 cervix open. induced at 19+6 no infection found.

Pm can show how advanced infection was and abs given straight after waters breaking help to prevent it from happening, or getting worse. It should be standed procedure.

nailak Wed 14-Nov-12 17:11:31

I know women who have had miscarried and chosen natural option, it has taken up to 6 weeks in some cases to complete miscarriage, was that dangerous? should they have been on antibiotics? My friend did mention she had regular monitoring when she was going through this.

they were not made to labour for 3 days but they chose to.

galwaygal Wed 14-Nov-12 17:12:20

verylittlecarrot - how if the infection was there three days previously would having a termination have prevented the infection from progressing? It would be the administration of antibiotics following termination that would have dealt with the infection, not the termination itself.

Using terms like EVER and ALWAYS are very strong; The antibiotics given at an appropriate time might have saved both mother and child theoretically, it would be impossible to state categorically that it would NEVER occur. In this case it could be argued that it would be a better outcome than the then unnecessary termination a wanted pregnancy. There are so many different possible outcomes. EVER and NEVER can be used to argue them all, there are exceptions to the rules in most situations.

The miscarriage became inevitable when the feotus died, prior to that it was still a threatened miscarriage. The likelihood for the survival of the feotus was always small but the lack of treatment of the infection was the probrable cause of death for both mother and child. You seem to be saying that the live feotus was causing the infection, it was the open cervix that was causing the infection, not the feotus.

There are two different situations: 1) where a feotus has died and a miscarriage is allowed to be prolonged, compared to 2) a live feotus and prolonged threatened miscarriage. These two situations receive different treatments and should be treated on a case by case situation.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:14:23

Nailak - that's what I mean when I say Savita wasn't in a life-threatening situation. It was awful, and horrible, and shouldn't have happened, but her life wasn't in danger. It was only when the infection developed that she was in danger and at that stage having an abortion wouldn't have made a difference.

Nicknamegrief, When I was in labour at 37 weeks after my waters broke I was pressurised to deliver quickly after 24 hours to reduce the risk of infection. The emphasis was on a quick delivery rather than on antibiotics. I'm not extrapolating from this, though. I'd still prefer to know what the safest approach is deemed to be medically.

Thank you for answering verylittlecarrot.

I opted for medical management but have a friend who didn't. I carry around guilt that I ended it (although there was no heartbeat) while my friend doesn't. This of course is my experience and even I can see that my guilt is not really rationale.

As for the antibiotics thing, antibiotics are not perfect and they do not always work especially if they are given too late. Sadly I lost a friend this year who died following an infection she got during labour/birth. It was discovered too late and it takes time to get find out exactly what the infection is to use targeted antibiotics.

It is a very sad case.

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 17:16:02

cailinDana A post mortem infection won't show how and when she picked the infection up.

Not always, but medical experts will give evidence at the inquiry. The issue of 'foreseeability', (important legally to a wrongful death case and quantifiably knowable in mathematical probability) will bury the medical team.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 17:16:24

The point is that yes, she was left to die as induction would have meant the pregnancy would have ended earlier than it did and it would have ended technically due to the medical intervention. So technically it would have been an abortion and illegal!!!! Nobody denies the fact that she needed anti biotics as well. She was mesically trained. So probably had a good idea what was happening to her.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 17:16:43

Yes, from what we know is not that difficult to conclude that Savita was left to die. An informed decision was made about her medical treatment,ignoring her wishes and perhaps treating her very badly.
I am finding incredible the comparisons you are making. This was not a normal 'every woman breaking waters' scenario. This was someone in pain and distress, enough to kill her actually.
If the account of the husband reported above are confirmed, she was clearly neglected and left to die.

Women whos waters break prematurely are not offered induction unless the baby shows signs of distress/ infection. They don't like to induce before 37 weeks. Except in certain circumstances.

At 20 weeks an induction due to waters breaking is classed as a termination due to medical reasons. She didn't have this choice!

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 17:20:10

Really Cailin, how do you know that what you are saying is reflecting facts.
knowing the outcome I cannot believe that you can happily state that : 'Savita wasn't in a life-threatening situation'

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:20:12

The pain and distress didn't kill her camaleon - infection did.

She wasn't given an abortion because in Ireland abortion is illegal.

She wasn't monitored for infection - that is medical negligence.

I don't agree that she was "left to die" - because that implies she was put in a room and ignored, but I do think she wasn't given adequate medical care.

galwaygal - it isn't a case of EITHER the antibiotics OR the termination. You write "how if the infection was there three days previously would having a termination have prevented the infection from progressing? It would be the administration of antibiotics following termination that would have dealt with the infection, not the termination itself."

Well exactly!

a. Termination on day 1 with immediate antibiotics is better than b. allow infection to progress for 3 days then terminate, then treat.

Don't you agree with this?

DublinMammy Wed 14-Nov-12 17:22:09

This is a disgraceful story, so, so sad - the barbaric way this woman was treated reflects so badly on Ireland. We are not all rabid-anti-choice Catholic idiots. I am hearing true outrage over here about this and hope something positive can come out of it.

I had 2 miscarriages last year and in neither case was I offered anything other than "go home and see how you get on, give us a call if you feel you need to". As I am O-negative I then had the treat of attending the regular part of the hospital (The Rotunda in Dublin) for my anti-D injections, surrounded by pregnant women and those bringing their babies in for the 6-week check-up. You can see the sensitivity with which I was treated, and also I wonder how would I know for sure if I needed anti-biotics anyway? We RELY on doctors to make these life-saving decisions for us.

I'd like to know how the term "life of the mother is at risk" is defined, is it just defined medically or if someone were to threaten to harm themselves without having a termination, would that be sufficient grounds for the doctor to go ahead?

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:22:14

Camaleon - having a miscarriage isn't life threatening, that is simply a fact. That is why she was denied an abortion when she got to hospital. She eventually got an infection, which WAS life threatening but at that stage having an abortion would have made no difference.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 17:22:40

She wasn't given an abortion because in Ireland abortion is illegal

Ireland's Medical Council guidelines state that "abortion is illegal in Ireland except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life (as distinct from the health) of the mother".

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:23:23

Yes squoosh and when Savita came to the hospital there was no "real and substantial risk" to her life.

Verylittlecarrot- Your experience is different to mine, my waters went and they waited over 48 hours before even mentioning infection. Thankfully I had a good outcome and I hope you did too.

It seems that there maybe no hard and fast rule and judgment is required.

We will probably have to resign ourselves to the fact that until the full details are made public/the inquest is held it will not be clear what happened and who is at fault.

Narked Wed 14-Nov-12 17:25:00

You have no idea what danger she was in. She was having an 'inevitable miscarriage' ie her cervix was dilated beyond the point of return. There are known risks. Sepsis is one of them. They had 3 days to do something about it. They sat back and did nothing, because 'pro-life' campaigners have put them in a position where they're afraid of being prosecuted for giving what, elsewhere in the world, is considered basic care that the woman spent 3 days begging them for.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 17:25:07

I am disputing that in Ireland abortion is always illegal. Second, I am saying that even being illegal doctors should do illegal things to save lives and that the argument of legality only does not stand.
The pain did not kill her, of course. But the fact that se has in agony is proven by the fact that she actually died.
It is pretty irrelevant, but I had a very early miscarriage that started in a plain from Spain to Dublin and continued in a second plane to Galway (when the aiport was open) while travelling for work. I ended in the Galway hospital and was treated appallingly. So perhaps I am biased.

camaleon Wed 14-Nov-12 17:26:43

God, in a 'plane' not 'plain' among may other typos (trying to work and participate is impossible)

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 17:27:20

Cailin I was correcting your erronoeus statement about abortion in Ireland.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 17:27:26

Normally inevitable miscarriage means that diletation of the cervix has happened and nothing can be done to stop it. Whether or not there is a heart beat or not is not the issue. Women have miscarriages where the baby is born alive and lives for a very short time. She requested medical management and should have had it.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:28:13

I agree totally that miscarriage is dealt with appallingly in Ireland. I haven't had experience of it myself thank god but I've had friends go through it and it is just sickening.

She was in agony yes, and that was totally unnecessary. I'm not disputing that she should have had an abortion straight away.

But mixing up the abortion and infection issues won't help - it'll just complicate the whole thing and bury the totally relevant abortion arguments IMO. Claiming that Savita died due to not having an abortion isn't accurate.

Lottapianos Wed 14-Nov-12 17:28:28

Very disturbing stories on this thread about being treated 'appallingly' by hospital staff when miscarrying. That's absolutely disgraceful.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 17:28:28

'erroneous' erroneously spelt.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 17:29:25


" They sat back and did nothing, because 'pro-life' campaigners have put them in a position where they're afraid of being prosecuted for giving what, elsewhere in the world, is considered basic care that the woman spent 3 days begging them for."

Exactly right.

Narked Wed 14-Nov-12 17:29:59

The terrible thing is that they stayed in the hospital. If they had been anywhere else people would have told them what to do - go to the North.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:31:23

It might not have been that simple Narked - it's a very very very long way from Galway to the border. Savita might not have been able to travel that far in the state she was in, and no airline would have allowed them to fly.

JuliaFlyte Wed 14-Nov-12 17:32:58

I have been listening to this on various Irish radio stations all day. From what I can gether this poor woman's death was not caused by the law, or a misinterpretation of the law, but by medical negligence.

My understanding is that women present at Irish hospitals in similar circumstances every day of the week, and it would be common practice to induce. It didn't happen here not because of the law, but because of poor medical practice.

Apologies if this point has already been made, I haven't had time to catch up on the whole thread.

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 17:33:09


You are woefully misinformed.

Abortion in Ireland isn't illegal, it is un-legislated.

The woman was a dentist herself, I'm fairly sure she knew the risks that came with septicemia.

I think this case is hard for some Irish people as it is messing with their national pride, which makes them defensive and clouds their judgement on this issue...


Your 'fact' is anything but.

Having a miscarriage isn't life-threatening? Are you arguing that her infection was co-incidental? Not at all related to the miscarriage?

There are risks associated with childbirth and with miscarriage. That most women survive happily does not mean that all will.

She is dead. Her life was threatened. By her miscarriage. And the way it was NOT treated appropriately.

Your desperate need to believe that a swift termination would have had no effect on the outcome is not believable at all.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 17:34:40

It takes four hous from galway to belfast these days.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:37:36

Verylittle - having a tonsillectomy can result in infection and death. That does not mean that having tonsillitis is life-threatening. Do you see the distinction?

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 17:37:40

I know, Narked, one of the really awful things is that an Irish family would have known how vulnerable she was to not getting the treatment she needed.

And taken her elsewhere.

This poor couple trusted that Savita would be treated as a human in this hospital where she was treated as an incubator.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 17:38:01

Yes, some Irish people will undoubtedly get prickly and defensive about criticism from foreign media.

And I don't give a damn. This is about breaching the human rights of women living in Ireland. I'm sure the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will be taking an interest in this case too.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 17:38:17

Cailin My understanding (very limited) is that her cervix had dilated and she was miscarrying. Ordinary this would take a matter of hours, but in her case it took days. It was this delay that allowed the infection to take hold, and if the pregnancy had been terminated as soon as it was clear that the foetus would not survive then the infection could have been avoided.

If this is right (and that's what's being reported) then the refusal to terminate directly contributed to her death.

5madthings Wed 14-Nov-12 17:38:35

caillin you say miscarriage isnt life threatening?!! Yes it can be in cases of extreme blood loss and infection. The longer she was left the longer the infection had to take hold. An abortion on its own would not have saved her but in conjunction with antibiotics it may well have given her a chance.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 17:39:26

It can be safe to wait for a miscarriage to happen naturally, however normally that is earlier or when the crrvix is closed and membranes are intact. Can anyone tell me the poi t of this discussion? I dont think anyone can dispute that had savita's miscarriage been medically managed and she had simultaneosly got anti biotics there is a great likelyhood she would be at home today, sad but alive.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 17:40:10

Cailín is right that Savita's condition was not sufficiently life threatening to merit a termination of her pregnancy.

And that fact is scandalous.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:40:29

Crikey - there is no way of knowing where the infection came from. It certainly didn't come from the foetus, that is medically impossible. It might have started before she even went to the hospital, or when she had her first internal. It is by no means certain that having an abortion would have stopped it.

JuliaFlyte Wed 14-Nov-12 17:40:38

This is a good article about the legal situation here

McChristmasPants2012 Wed 14-Nov-12 17:41:01

IMO abortions should not be a government issue.

All women should be able be to have an abortion if that what she has decided.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 17:41:04

Tonsillitis can BECOME life threatening. Miscarriage can BECOME life threatening. Plenty of people have died throughout the ages of both of these things, Cailin - and it's modern medicine that's made death from them uncommon now. That same modern medicine that was denied Savita.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 17:42:50

I'm just glad that the eyes of the world are today focussed on Ireland's medieval abortion laws.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:43:07

Yes, it can BECOME life threatening. But abortion is not available under those circumstances in Ireland. I agree that Savita should have been given an abortion, straight away. But by denying her it, the doctors were following the letter of the law, as it stands.

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 17:44:04

squoosh Agreed. Wrongful death and yet ANOTHER trip back to the European Court of Human Rights for Ireland.

A disgrace. A tragic disgrace.

Narked Wed 14-Nov-12 17:44:05

Cailin is anti abortion. Full stop. Unless I've mixed you up with another poster?

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:44:59

5mad - a miscarriage isn't automatically life threatening. Thousands of women have them every day (sadly) without any complications. Savita's mc became life threatening due to lack of monitoring and lack of antibiotics.

galwaygal Wed 14-Nov-12 17:45:17

verylittlecarrot - "a. Termination on day 1 with immediate antibiotics is better than b. allow infection to progress for 3 days then terminate, then treat.
Don't you agree with this? No, because they should have treated with immediate antibiotics from day 1. The eprc once the heartbeat had stopped was done, it was the antibiotics that came too late. It is not possible to say that she had the infection from day 1, she might not have contracted the infection til later, and terminating would not have necessaily have prevented this. I don't see how terminating the pregnancy would have improved her medical chances of reducing the chances of getting an infection, termination is itself gives a risk of infection.

"But mixing up the abortion and infection issues won't help - it'll just complicate the whole thing and bury the totally relevant abortion arguments IMO. Claiming that Savita died due to not having an abortion isn't accurate."

So Wrong. Your stance stifles the debate and lends support to the position that abortion isn't going to help save your life in any circumstances. Just give the antibiotics and then we've done all we can do medically.

If I found myself in this poor woman's position, I'd like to know the actual medical facts. Not to be told that my having an abortion, or not having one, makes no difference to my outcome as long as antibiotics are prescribed. Because CailinDana on Mumsnet says so.

If you don't actually have any medical basis for making such a blatant statement stop bloody making it.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:46:33

No I'm not anti abortion full stop Narked. I'm not 100% pro-choice either (it's complicated) but I believe in Savita's case an abortion should absolutely have been given, right away, no question.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:47:32

No verylittle I won't. Telling others to stop debating doesn't do much to enhance the debate either IMO.

Narked Wed 14-Nov-12 17:48:48

I must have mixed you up with someone else. I thought you were an 'only when the health of the mother is at physical risk' person.

Mixxy Wed 14-Nov-12 17:52:18


You keep making out like the infection is some unknowable mystery from out of left-field. It's not.

There is foreseeability in medical and legal circles. A medical expert, which is not you, will tell the courts.

Narked Wed 14-Nov-12 17:52:35

If it had been an infection of the thumb nail then the abortion wouldn't have helped. If it was, as is likely, an infection of the womb, then clearing the womb, womb lining and effectively clearing the site of infected tissue would have helped immensely.

galwaygal, let me understand you then. Your position is this:
a. treat with antibiotics on day 1. Allow miscarriage to continue for 3 days and hope that this is effective despite the prolonged open cervix. Terminate after heartbeat stops.

and you are certain that this would not have a worse medical outcome for the mother than
b. treat with antibiotics on day 1. Medically manage miscarriage on day 1. Ensure uterus is clear and cervix closed on day 1.

Because I think b offers a better chance. What do you know that I don't?

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:54:16

Mixxy, the risk of infection in a miscarriage is well known. But you cannot pinpoint exactly where someone picked up an infection from, it's just not possible. You don't need to be a medical expert to know that, it's basic science.

5madthings Wed 14-Nov-12 17:54:36

I never said miscarriage was automatically life threatening, i said it can.be in cases of blood loss and infection. And i know women have miscarriages every day i have had two myself.

You cannot categorically state that performing the abirtion earlier would not have helped her and by knowing the fetus was not viable and yet leaving her they were placing her life at risk. Each day that risk.did increase, being in hospital increases your risk if catching an infection for most people let alone someone with an.open cervix and leaking waters.

5madthings Wed 14-Nov-12 17:55:48

narked exactly it would have helped clear the infection.

Cailin, feel free to keep debating. I haven't said you should stop.

But stating as fact that swiftly medically managing a miscarriage can not improve outcomes vs allowing a 3 day miscarriage...that is stating something as fact when it is not.

That isn't debating.

You should know the difference.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 17:56:58

Cailin If you agree that Savita should have had an abortion, then surely you support a law change that would allow women like her to have the care that they need? We are all well aware of how the law stands - that's the problem!

And while the foetus itself may not have been the source of the infection, it was clearly pregnancy related, so a termination BEFORE she developed sepsis could well have made a massive difference.

rhetorician Wed 14-Nov-12 17:58:15

but what a terrible assumption is suggested by that parenthesis squoosh (I know you are quoting, not shooting messenger!) real and substantial risk to the life (as distinct from the health) of the mother

as the day goes on it seems to be that there are two quite different discussions happening (1) what happened in Galway and the questions of negligence that arise and (2) a reopening of the can of worms that is abortion in Ireland. I think this case was not 'about' abortion, it was about the medical management of miscarriage - and it was irresponsible of the media to use the term 'termination', even if this is what the patient herself (and her husband) had used.

I agree with whoever said that pro-choice positions are poorly represented here - it is political death (cf. Ivana Bacik). I am English, have lived here for a long time, and wouldn't describe myself as pro-abortion - certainly not on demand, and certainly not after 14-15 weeks, unless there is very good reason (e.g. the foetus has a condition incompatible with life, or with a good quality of life). We were nearly in this position ourselves with our second, as results came back with high odds and it was painful to us to have our options discussed in terms of euphemism ('you can go to England') as if having a severely disabled foetus was somehow a source of shame. I also recognise though, that for a lot of people (not just Irish people by any means!) the suggestion that they would consider abortion in such as case would also be deeply offensive.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 17:58:17

Should stress, I have absolutely no medical qualifications - but it seems common sense to me.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:58:40

Thing is, 5mad, letting someone have a "natural" miscarriage is a viable course of medical action - it happens in hospitals all over the world every day. In this case, Savita didn't want one but she was forced to have one against her wishes, which is the real issue. She was forced to suffer until the baby died which is just awful. It is a side effect of that process that she picked up an infection. She should have been monitored, she wasn't. That's where the hospital was negligent. Claiming that the hospital actually caused her death by not giving the abortion is not correct because it is not possible to ever know that. That's the problem with getting the abortion and infection issues mixed up.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 18:01:33

And it's not about knowing where an infection is "picked up from"! Symptoms can describe where it IS, and that's what's relevant.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 18:02:49

Yes I do think the law should be changed Crikey, absolutely. I'm not disputing that at all. My worry is that people are trying to claim that the hospital caused her death by not giving the abortion. That is just not accurate. It is impossible to ever know that. Plus, if she already had the infection when she got to hospital (totally possible), then had an abortion and died, what would the outcome be then? The pro-lifers would have a field day. What I'm saying is that the two issues need to be separated and claiming falsely that no abortion=infection=death isn't going to help.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 18:04:52

Crikey, she had septicaemia, which is a blood infection.

The abortion and infection issues are interrelated. You cannot separate them.
CailinDana. Can you please give me your opinion on my question to galwaygal. Because although natural miscarriage may be a viable course of action in some circumstances, I am certain that it is the riskiest course of action in others. Just like a natural birth is the best option in many circumstances, but is the riskiest in others.
Can you acknowledge this, at least?

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 18:06:03

It is a side effect of that process that she picked up an infection

So, she became infected because of the process of suffering (for longer than usual) through a natural miscarriage.

So, actually, it IS possible to know how she became infected and to therefore know that ending the pregnancy could well have prevented this?

Bear in mind, she died of blood poisoning - a very serious complication of infection. If the source of the infection had been removed before it got that far, then surely she could have been saved?

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 18:06:52

Sorry what was the question verylittle?

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 18:09:08


You do not know, Cailin that her death was not caused by the hospital's actions, which were prompted by the law, so how can you say anything is inaccurate??

If the source of the infection was the pregnancy, then ending it could have saved her life. How can you dispute that?

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 18:12:43

I totally see what you're saying Crikey but it's not as simple as that. To give an analogy - these days doctors are very slow to perform a tonsillectomy. It is a recognised course of action to allow someone to have repeated bouts of tonsillitis before performing it. In the course of these repeated bouts a sufferer could get septicaemia and die and the family could claim that the doctor's actions (or lack of action) led to the death. But the doctors could claim they were following procedure and the death was a complication that they weren't responsible for. Do you see what I'm saying? Letting Savita have the miscarriage without intervention wasn't medically incorrect. The fact that she got an infection was an unforeseen consequence but one that is medically recognised and not caused by the doctors directly.

Where the hospital totally fucked up was not monitoring her. They chose a course of action (natural miscarriage) but didn't give her the care to support her, which is negligent.

grimbletart Wed 14-Nov-12 18:13:18

We can't know for sure until the investigations are complete (or possibly evenn then) whether antibiotics alone, antibiotics plus immediate termination or termination alone may have saved Savita or even whether nothing would have saved her.

What we do apparently know is that Savita was suffering, was told the baby's death was inevitable, asked for a termination of her wanted baby to get her ordeal over with and was refused. That is barbaric and that is down to the law (or lack of clarity in the law) in Ireland and its attitude that women do not have bodily autonomy.

Perhaps this tragic case will finally propel Ireland into the 21st century.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 18:15:03

The source of infection wasn't the pregnancy. The source of infection was a dirty hand, a stray piece of faeces, a not entirely clean instrument. It was introduced at some point in the process of miscarriage, and an abortion wouldn't have necessarily cleared it.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 18:19:51

That's exactly what I'm saying grimbletart.

Maybe an abortion WOULD, CailinDana! Maybe it WOULD. I know you don't want this to be true. I believe its possible that it COULD.

Why are you so determined to believe that it would have offered her no extra chance at all?

I need to stop arguing this point with CailinDana and Galwaygal.

It is ludicrous that they are suggesting that they KNOW that an earlier termination would not have improved her chances. As a layperson, I know that sometimes it is impossible to properly treat an infection with antibiotics until the source of the infection has been removed.

Splinters can continue to fester until the wound is cleaned.

Periodontal disease can often not be treated successfully despite antibiotics until the tooth has been removed.

Antibiotics are not enough always in the absence of other actions. I don't accept that swiftly terminating an infected pregnancy has no benefit in any circumstance.
I will accept it if someone provides compelling medical evidence of this.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 18:25:24

Cailin you are missing the point spectacularly.

In cases of sepsis, there is a source of infection - the place it started. Someone with severe tonsillitis who developed sepsis would have the tonsil out IMMEDIATELY. Rule number one, remove the source of the infection.

You are confusing source of infection (the part of the body that is infected) with origins of the infection (dirty hands, whatever).

The source of Savita's infection was almost certainly pregnancy related, and that should have been ended immediately for clinical reasons.

SuperMummy70 Wed 14-Nov-12 18:26:04

Women need to stick together and support the right GLOBALLY for the WOMAN to make the decision. Abortion is our right.

Agreed, CrikeyOHare.

DublinMammy Wed 14-Nov-12 18:29:09

Thanks for posting the link to that article, JuliaFlyte, very informative and clear.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 18:33:06

In that case what you're arguing is that she should have had a hysterectomy, since the site of infection would have been the uterus Crikey. The baby wasn't the site of infection, that's not medically possible. A baby isn't like a splinter that takes its infection with it when it is removed.

grimbletart Wed 14-Nov-12 18:35:45

Where the hospital totally fucked up was not monitoring her

No, where they totally fucked up was in refusing her request to terminate a failing pregnancy whether or not that would have saved her. They overrode a patient's express wishes because "Ireland is a Catholic country" and they may gave been afraid of the possible legal consequences.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 18:36:44

Removing the baby would not have removed the infection. That's not how human biology works. It might have prevented the infection, who knows. It might have given her a worse infection or cause a haemmorrhage, or go knows what. There's just no point speculating, that's what I'm saying.

Savita should have been given the abortion regardless of whether she would have or could have or did have an infection.

BadDayAtTheOrifice Wed 14-Nov-12 18:36:49

Please google chorioamnionitis Cailin. That is what this woman had and it does not require a hysterectomy.

OnTheNeverNever Wed 14-Nov-12 18:42:36

Maternity care in Ireland is shockingly bad. overcrowded hospitals and poor hygiene standards are standard. The midwife-led clinic I attended had a waiting room that smelled of urine. (I won't bore you with all the things that were wrong about my care.)Unless there is a concern about foetal anomaly, non-private patients receive one dating ultrasound for the duration of the pregnancy.

Pregnancy is, however, the only time when there is free health care for every woman, regardless of her circumstances. This is because constitutionally, legally and morally, the life of her baby is more important than the health of any mother in the country.

Mrs Halappanavar reaped the whirlwind that is poor healthcare and ongoing misogyny in Ireland. My sympathies to her husband and family.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 18:42:41

since the site of infection would have been the uterus Crikey

Are either you or I qualified to know that, Cailin? I don't know where the infection was, neither do you.

Infection is a complication of miscarriage and not every woman ends up having a hysterectomy.

stillorsparkling Wed 14-Nov-12 18:45:25

If I recall correctly callin Dana was on here a few weeks ago saying in effect that giving mothers the choice to terminate on the grounds of foetal abnormality should not be allowed an the grounds that it encourage and amounted to discrimination against the disabled . S

Sorry but its nonsense to say that the refusal to terminate did not increase the risk of infection, irrespective of whether abs administered or not -

CailinDana you are making medical statements which are simply wrong. Please do shut up when it comes to claiming things are medical facts when they plainly are not. It goes beyond idiocy to keep making these claims.

"that's not how human biology works"???? Your knowledge of human biology clearly could be improved with a better distinction between your arse and your elbow.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 18:47:25

Cailin Abortion does not just mean removing the baby - you do know this, right? There are products of the pregnancy too, the placenta for one. The baby may not be the source of the infection, but it could well have been something else associated with the pregnancy. In which case, abortion was clinically indicated.

I don't for one minute think that termination alone would have cured the infection, of course it wouldn't.

Prophylactic antibiotics should have been offered on rupture of membranes, and as soon as it was apparent that the foetus stood no chance of survival then termination should have been permitted. There was no point subjecting her to more pain, becoming weaker and thus enabling the infection to gain a tighter grip.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 19:00:08

I don't for one minute think that termination alone would have cured the infection, of course it wouldn't

You might be right - but why do you think that? It may not have made much difference once septicemia had set in, but removal of the pregnancy (if that was the source of the infection) stood a good chance of curing the infection before it got that far, wouldn't it?

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 19:01:39

'Anything less than abortion on demand is anti-women'

Define 'abortion of demand' however. If we pursue 'my body my choice' to its logical conclusion, then abortion should be available for any reason and up until birth. Is there any country that actually enshrines that position in law? In reality all countries restrict a woman's access to abortion. The restrictions are just different.

nailak Wed 14-Nov-12 19:06:09

I still don't understand, if having a medical miscarriage is so important, and having a natural one is so dangerous, then why have most of the women I know who have had miscarriage opted for the natural option?

somewherewest Wed 14-Nov-12 19:08:38

Again, somewherewest, I refer you to the 5000+ women who travel abroad for termination annually. They should not have to leave the country to get this treatment, regardless of their reasons for wanting it. The ECHR agrees and has demanded the Irish gov legislate for this, which Enda Kenny has said he will never do in his tenure as Taoiseach. Why do YOU think successive governments have refused to legislate?...

Because not enough Irish people (of both genders) care enough, to put it bluntly? Again, if there was electoral mileage in legislating, legislation would've been passed, as it was on divorce, censorship, contraception etc, and as it will be on same-sex partnerships pretty soon (again, polls suggest that a clear majority of Irish people favour same-sex marriage). If the women of Ireland (thats half the voters) were united and mobilised on the issue, there would be change. But they aren't. And there is naff all the ECHR or an army of indignant Mumsnetters can do about it.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 19:11:10

My personal feeling is up to around tbree months free and easily accessible. Later depending on circumstances.
This is regarding abottion on demand.
I think there is a confusion about terminology. What Savita was asking for was not an abortion on demand, it was a termination on medical grounds.

Termination alone wouldn't kill an infection.
Only the antibiotics could do that. You'd never remove all of the infection particularly once it was in the blood.

McChristmasPants2012 Wed 14-Nov-12 19:20:52

the womb was infected ( don't know how as there could be a number of reasons) oce the pregnacy was ended then the placenta would have stopped working and rejected by the body.

the infection was passed throught the placenta as it would have been the only way it poisioned the mother.

with strong medication her life would have been saved

LeBFG Wed 14-Nov-12 19:24:55

What is the policy in the UK wrt to second trimester pregnancy losses?

Posters have quoted their experienced of mc but not how many weeks along they were. I would suspect early (i.e. first trimester) miscarriages would be left to sort themselves out more frequently. Whereas 2nd tri losses might be more likely to be medicalised?

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 19:26:16

Nobody is suggesting a termination in itself would have saved her. However it seems more than likely that in combination with antibiotics it would.
The issue is why she was left to suffer and not allowed the choice which she demanded. (she was a medical professional).
The reason for that lies in the legislation which makes abortion not just illegal but unconstitutional and in a deeply ingrained patriarchial hierarchy which does not give a dam about women's right to choose. By the way this is the one area nearly all the polotical parties in the north and the varoius churches agree on. Besides that in both north and south churches have and retain an incredible amount of power politically and socially. Things are changing slowly but it is a fight.

stillorsparkling Wed 14-Nov-12 19:26:42

There are a lot of people on this thread who are desperate to dress this up as a medical mistake which had nothing to do with abortion law in Ireland . It's utter horseshit ; refusing a request for termination and forcing her to wait until the foetus was dead clearly Increased the risk of infection - not caused the infection but increased the risk.

McChristmasPants2012 Wed 14-Nov-12 19:27:41

2nd trimesters are normally done by dilation and evacuation

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 19:29:00

No I won't shut up verylittle, but I will ignore your posts from now on. I don't engage with people like you.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 19:31:09

Crikey, if the infection wasn't in the uterus then an abortion would have been pointless. I'm not saying I'm qualified to say it was in the uterus, I'm pointing out how it does not makes sense to say that having an abortion would have got rid of the infection, seeing as it's not possible to know that.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 19:32:29

Stillorsparkling - at no point did I say that refusing abortion didn't increase the risk of infection - it might well have. The point is it's impossible to know whether the abortion would have prevented infection or not.

beginnings Wed 14-Nov-12 19:33:06

Can we please stop debating the whys and wherefores and maybes of this particular case. To the best of my knowledge, no-one on this thread is a member of the relevant medical team and if they are, they ought to find themselves up in front of the Irish Medical Council pretty sharpish.

The fact is that in Ireland, the life, the actual fundamental ability to breathe, of a woman, is not valued. This is enshrined in our constitution. We're also not too keen on women being unchained from the kitchen sink as article 41.2 states

"1° In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.
2° The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home."

Not a dicky bird about the value of a father!! Oh no, in order to be a good woman, and to achieve your purpose in life, you have to stay at home!!

Also in Ireland the "family" is so paramount that if you are an abused child, of married parents, you cannot be adopted by anyone else. Because nowhere in law can you break up a family. It. Just. Doesn't. Exist. And don't get me started on our "care" system because the record, the RECENT record of children disappearing from the care system and dying would make your hair stand on end. This is happening across the Irish Sea. Not in a country tens of thousands miles away run by religious fundamentalists...oh no, wait, maybe that second bit is wrong.

Like I said, ashamed to be Irish today. My English born daughter will not be getting an Irish passport. I wouldn't put her through the shame of having to show it anywhere.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 19:35:37

When i went in at 20 weeks with a sponaneous miscarriage, dilated cervix and ruptured membranes they brought me to laboir ward where i was offered the drip for acceleration. I was in labour and opted to do it naturally but was advised if i did not deliver kind of fast they would need to accelerate due to the risk of infection.
They encouraged me to walk about to speed things up.
I have heard of women being sent home until the next day with se ond trimester losses and stillbirths, however in those cases the cervix was closed and membranes intact. They then had to come back for induction.
This was in the royal victoria hospital in belfast.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 19:36:42

Don't you just love the works of Eamon de Valera!

BadDayAtTheOrifice Wed 14-Nov-12 19:36:58

There are different ways of managing 2nd trimester miscarriages depending on the circumstances. Sometimes it is found that the fetus has died and in the absence of signs of infection mothers can be offerd 'expectant management' ie:waiting for natural miscarriage, or medical termination ie induced abortion using abortifactant drugs. Dilation and evacuation are not done on the NHS after 14 weeks.
If the mother is going through a long but (usually) inevitable miscarriage she is usually offered expectant management but if there are signs of infection she will be strongly advised to terminate the pregnancy to reduce the risks to her.

flippinada Wed 14-Nov-12 19:37:03

Well, if the Irish establishment wanted to show itself up in the eyes of the world as backwards, barbaric and woman hating -job well done.

I notice too that there was a snotty comment upthread about the "rage party". Well pardon me for saying so but, rage, frustration and despair are entirely appropriate reactions to an event like this. I am angry. I am livid.

A woman died, a young, healthy woman died unnecessarily, in what is supposed to be a developed nation. In the 21st century.

Her husband was looking forward to being a father and now that has been ripped away from him. This time last well they were both probably excited about and looking forward to their impending parenthood...wondering about the baby, boy or girl...and now she is dead. Just 32 years old.

If your reaction to all of that is not rage, anger, despair then frankly there is something wrong with you.

There is so much more I could say but I've said enough.

RIP Savita.

nailak early natural mc are less dangerous than late ones, infection can get into the womb where the placenta attaches to the wall of the uterus, either through the placenta or after the placentas is delivered as when it comes away from the wall of the uterus it leaves a wound that is open to infection.

LineRunner Wed 14-Nov-12 19:39:45

I heard the deceased woman's husband say just now on Channel Four News that his wife would be alive 'without a doubt' if the hospital had carried out the termination that was asked for.

beginnings Wed 14-Nov-12 19:44:56

squoosh thank you for making me smile. Although one must ask, was it the work of Dev, or John Charles. Hard to tell......

LynetteScavo Wed 14-Nov-12 19:46:51

From the little I know of this it seems to me as if medical negligence is to blame, not pro-life laws.

My guess is there have been other cases like this, in Ireland and other countries. sad This one just happens to have hit the media.

But I also think abortion is such a grey area, it's never going to be 100% perfect all of the time. sad

MadeInChinaBaby Wed 14-Nov-12 19:47:12

thanks RIP Savita Halappanavar thanks

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Nov-12 19:47:48

There is a bit more detail in the Irish Times report.

Poor woman - poor husband. It probably never occurred to them when they went to Ireland that in an apparently civilized democracy a woman could be treated in this manner. sad

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 19:49:03

Rage without action is utterly pointless. There was a rally at Leinster House today attended by 2000 people and there seems to be a demonstration organised for saturday at the garden of rememberance.

LineRunner Wed 14-Nov-12 19:49:05

The woman's husband just gave an interview on Channel Four News. He said Savita would still be alive without a doubt if she had been allowed a termination.

Without a doubt. He said that.

KRITIQ Wed 14-Nov-12 19:49:22

Cailin, are you trying to be deliberately vexatious? Did you look for even basic information on Chorioamnionitis, as suggested by BadDay above.

The infection would have travelled through the cervix to the foetus and products of conception, which most likely were already necrotising, providing an ideal medium for the bacteria to grow and spread to the surrounding uterus and through the bloodstream, to the rest of the body.

Removing the foetus and products of conception would remove the bulk of the tissue harbouring the infection, making the infection that had spread far easier to treat with aggressive antibiotic therapy.

It would be the same if a patient had a gangrenous foot. Treating this by antibiotics alone would not be sufficient to halt the infection. The tissue of the foot is already starting to die, will never recover and become living tissue again and provide a medium for the bacteria to feed, grow and spread to the still healthy tissues surrounding it. So, you have to remove the dead and dying tissue AND treat with antibiotics.

In clinical situations like that of Savita Halappanavar, the products of conception, like a gangrenous foot, were already dying even if the foetus still showed a heartbeat. The necrotising tissues would never recover, never be able to support continued gestation of the foetus, so the foetus would not be viable. Without removing the infected, necrotising products of infection, anti-biotics would have only limited effect because the tissues cultivating the infection were still present, still generating more bacteria and enabling spread of the infection throughout the woman's body.

It seems by the time the products of conception were removed, the infection had spread and become so aggressive, causing irreparable damage to her vital organs that antibiotic and other treatments couldn't save her.

The "then she should have had a hysterectomy if the womb was also infected" argument is a complete red herring. If the infection had spread to the degree that the uterus was also necrotising, yes, a hysterectomy would have been indicated. But if the products of conception had been removed early enough, the infection would not have caught hold enough to kill off the uterine tissue, necessitating a hysterectomy.

Otoolie Wed 14-Nov-12 19:50:52

I am Irish although have lived in the UK for the last 25 years. I go "home" regularly and still have family over there. I have, up until today, been proud of my heritage and nationality. However I am shocked, embarrassed and disgusted at this despicable, neanderthal tragedy. As I said earlier today on my FB site we might as well don the Burka and be done with it if this is what is happening in a progressive European nation! Ireland hang your head in shame. But I honestly would never have thought it possible. I know that Ireland still doesnt have abortion but I have personal experience of information being available through various health and womens clinics as to where you can go to get it without much or any difficulty. And that is when it is an option. This just seems such a random act of idiocy on the part of some neanderthal doctor that I cant imagine, dont even want to imagine, it is the norm. I understand that there is a march on the Dail (our parliament) in Dublin tonight to protest this grotesque and anitquated response to this poor woman. I hope that our politicians heed it and do the right thing. And may her tragic death and that of her unborn child be not in vain. There are no words to ease the pain for that womans husband and family. The Irish govt need to give him a public apology. I am sad to be Irish tonight.

mayorquimby Wed 14-Nov-12 19:51:16

"Because not enough Irish people (of both genders) care enough, to put it bluntly? "

Exactly. As a whole we're all happy to sit back and pat ourselves on the back that we protect the child's right to life all the while delighted that the boat to England is our little get out clause to stop things getting too messy.
No politician will rich it with a stick either way as the PRSTV system means they rely on hitting the middle ground to pick up 2nd and 3rd preferences to keep their jobs so don't want to alienate any voters

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 19:51:43

He said that today on radio ulster and one commentator on another station appearantly said a vet would have given appropriate treatment.
Does anyone know if there is a protest planned for belfast?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Nov-12 19:52:30

>From the little I know of this it seems to me as if medical negligence is to blame, not pro-life laws.

yeah, right.

“Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy. The consultant said, ‘As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’.

“Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion.* The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country*. Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do.

“That evening she developed shakes and shivering and she was vomiting. She went to use the toilet and she collapsed. There were big alarms and a doctor took bloods and started her on antibiotics.

It would appear to be a deadly combination of (sorry, horrible hypocritical oxymoron in this context) 'pro-life' laws and medical negligence.

RabidCarrot Wed 14-Nov-12 19:55:49

Disgusting, poor woman and poor family

LeBFG Wed 14-Nov-12 19:57:35

OK - so what is the policy where the cervix is dilated? Obviously, one always has the choice of refusing treatment, but are infections risks so great that women are routinely asked to stay in hospital and do they strongly advise induction?

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 20:02:00

Normally in a late miscarriage with waters broken you are kept in! And encouraged ti hurry things up!

BadDayAtTheOrifice Wed 14-Nov-12 20:02:16

Dilatation suggests that the miscarriage is inevitable. The risks are really increased with ruptured membranes, not dilatation.

Curtsey Wed 14-Nov-12 20:02:50

Here's an interesting article: what would have happened in Britain

BadDayAtTheOrifice Wed 14-Nov-12 20:03:01

*the risks of infection

LineRunner Wed 14-Nov-12 20:03:12

And if you are at clear risk of dying, and you have asked for medical abortion, it happens.

RibenaFiend Wed 14-Nov-12 20:03:26

I am just incredibly saddened by this whole horrendous story. In a world where choice, treatment, diagnosis and education exist, why was this poor woman left to die in what has been reported as agonising pain? Children are blessings but so is free will. I am so so sad sad

bureni Wed 14-Nov-12 20:03:27

I would like to see a totally independant none Irish investigation into this case and not the local authorities investigating themselves with the usual biased religion driven outcome.

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 20:06:46

Ireland is contravening European Convention on Human Rights for failing to legislate for emergency medical abortions which was agreed by referendum aeons ago.

The European Court of Justice gave a ruling, two years ago I think, instructing the Irish Govt to regularise abortion legislation.

Lucinda Creighton, Ireland's European Affairs minister has been quoted as saying the State is not bound by the EU's Court of Justice. (??!!)

Next year Ireland will hold the EU presidency from 1 January 2013 - 30 June 2013.

I'd just love to know how Ireland can hold EU Presidency whilst completely dismissing the rulings of its Court of Justice.

Well thankfully, since CailinDana no longer wishes to engage with people like me (rational people?) I no longer should have to hear her ill-informed bullshit claims that swift terminations are always pointless in cases such as these.
And hopefully anyone who has endured a heartbreaking termination on the grounds that it was medically necessary for their own health won't have to listen to her nonsense either.
Small mercies.

Savita should have been given the termination on the grounds that it was her wish.
Or on the grounds that continuing the pregnancy posed a risk to her life.

But for as long as the former situation is not yet possible in Ireland, let us not lend any credence to the stupidity that claims that there is never a medical reason to terminate a pregnancy, never a risk to the mother's life that could be removed with a termination. Because that argument paves the way for the next tragedy of this nature to occur.

Xiaoxiong Wed 14-Nov-12 20:08:21

I have been so angry and upset about this all day. I caught a glimpse of her photo in the paper over someone's shoulder on the train home and lost it. Is there anything I could do? Is there any organisation fighting to change this which needs money or needs me to make calls or something?? (I'm in England.)

DS is 11 months old today. A year ago I was admitted to hospital with fluid loss. I wasn't in labour or in pain, DS's heartbeat was strong and healthy as I was monitored overnight. But the fear, the overwhelming fear that something would happen to DS, was overwhelming at the time and still in my memory (and I later found out that DH cried in the car when he had to leave me there overnight because he was so worried about both of us). And this poor woman and her husband begged repeatedly in fear and pain for THREE DAYS to terminate her much loved and wanted pregnancy, and was refused - and then she died. There are no words.

Those of you saying this is not an abortion issue seem to be disregarding the fact that unless you think the husband is lying, the consultant's stated reason for not complying with her wishes about her body when she and her child were both dying was not that she wasn't in danger, not that they were treating her with antibiotics and that would be enough, not that there was some disagreement about the medical prognosis, not because they were following a course of treatment that could save her child, but because they were not able legally to do so while they could detect a heartbeat, and because "Ireland is a Catholic country".

KRITIQ Wed 14-Nov-12 20:08:48

Apologies if that last post of mine seemed so clinical. It's the former gynae nurse in me that clicked into clinical mode.

I looked after many women experiencing threatened or actual miscarriage/stillbirth. Generally, the indication in second trimester is induction of labour. It's heart wrenching and painful for the woman (and loved ones) but if there is no sign of infection present, that is the most appropriate treatment. However, I remember one case where there were signs of advancing infection and the surgeons believed induction of labour would put too much strain on the woman's weakened system and the process would be too slow for the foetus and products of conception to be expelled in time. They proceeded to an emergency surgical termination to save her life.

No, none of us know all the clinical facts of the case, but from what has been reported, that would have been the treatment certainly in any British hospital, without question.

I agree that the restrictive laws in Ireland set the stage for Savita Halappanavar's avoidable suffering and death. It allowed the doctors to hesitate in offering treatment internationally recognised as effective in the case. It contributed to a culture in the medical establishment that allows doctors to place their own ethical beliefs before treatment that is in the best interests of the patient.

LeBFG Wed 14-Nov-12 20:08:52

SO with a dilated cervix there really was no hope that the foetus could survive? Posters have mentioned ruptured membrances and carrying on til viability - I'm assuming this could never have been the case for Savita?

LineRunner Wed 14-Nov-12 20:08:56

Is it at all relevant that Ireland is an EU member state? I just cannot believe that this family's human rights were considered at all - Savita's right to life, her and her husband's right to family life... The state's ability to fail to legislate with clarity because of religious cowardice seems to have prevailed.

I stayed in hospital for 48 hours after the waters broke on iv antibiotics. I then went home for 3 days on oral abs, cervix was around 2 cm dialated at the time. I had a list of symptoms to look out for incase of infection.

I was offered an induction on medical grounds after the waters broke but as I was showing no signs of infection decided to wait. I could have stayed in hospital longer if I'd wanted to.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Nov-12 20:16:22

LeBGF: read the Irish Times link. The doctor told them the baby wouldn't survive.

lebof I have incompetant cervix, so the cervix was open between 2-6 cm from 18+4 until delivery at 19+6.

You have more chance of the limbs coming through the cervix, which happened to me, or cord prolapse not to mention the high chance of the lungs and limbs not developing if the waters break so early.

Xiaoxiong Wed 14-Nov-12 20:20:41

LineRunner the ECHR has already ruled on this in 2010, stating that Ireland's abortion laws violate Article 8. You can read the judgement here - the court found that the abortion ban interfered with "the most intimate part of their family and private lives including their physical integrity".

LeBFG Wed 14-Nov-12 20:21:47

It's now abundantly clear to me, from KRITQ's summary of Chorioamnionitis, the link to the wiki page and the Curtsey's link quoting the British Miscarriage Association as well as the anedotal experiences on here, that it is normal, standard and good medical practice in these situations is to both prescribe ABs and speed up delivery of the foetus. It seems to me that both were neccesary to prevent or curtail infection, in contradiction to Cailin's posts.

What a tragedy that the ABs were given so late. And what a tradegy that the foetus wasn't eliminated earlier.

GingaNinja Wed 14-Nov-12 20:21:51

My SIL had the same situation as this poor woman - the difference being my SIL was in the UK and is hence still ALIVE after being induced at 17.5 weeks (mis underway but stalled) and then treated for the accompanying blood poisoning.

We live in Galway. DD was delivered in UCHG (the hospital concerned). I am English and when we left Leeds my GP there said I had 5 years to go back to Armley before I'd be taken off their practice list if I needed anything ie what I would regard as normal contraceptive/pregnancy care.

I have made sure my DD has a UK passport, even though she's only 3 at the moment, so that if she EVER needs to exert her reproductive rights she can not be prevented from travelling by the medieval attitude of certain sections of the Irish state. I'm not holding my breath for change.

expatinscotland Wed 14-Nov-12 20:22:17

I really feel for this lady, her husband and family. Absolutely heartbreaking to lose your child, but to know that she suffered horribly before her death and was not treated properly is tragic.

lisalisa Wed 14-Nov-12 20:22:58

I'm not sure I understand this case.

Savita was 17 weeks pregnant and had been told there was no hope for her baby. Nevertheless the doctors refused to abort it as she had presumably requested until the heartbeat failed ( which it presumably did on its own) and then she got septiceamia and passed away.

Was the septicemia related to the foetus directly? AFter it died did they not remove it quickly? Just thinking that normally if a baby dies in utero it does not usually give the mother blood poisening?

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 20:23:30

Sigh. So now it's going to become a pointless debate where the pro-choice side is going to say "An abortion would have saved her ^without a doubt^" and the pro-life side saying "No it wouldn't." I would bet my life savings that the medical evidence will be on the pro-life side. Own goal for pro-choice. Great.

I sympathise with that poor man but making statements like that is playing right into the hands of the pro-life side.

LeBFG Wed 14-Nov-12 20:23:52

Grimma - I must have missed that. Fucking nutters. That's my last word.

Xiaoxiong Wed 14-Nov-12 20:29:17

Whatever the circumstances of this particular case, it is clear that what the ECHR calls the "chilling effect" of the Irish law on abortion meant that she was not able to receive an acceptable standard of medical advice. Extract from the 2010 ECHR judgement:

254. Against this background of substantial uncertainty [about the law on abortion], the Court considers it evident that the criminal provisions of the 1861 Act would constitute a significant chilling factor for both women and doctors in the medical consultation process, regardless of whether or not prosecutions have in fact been pursued under that Act. Both the [woman] and any doctor ran a risk of a serious criminal conviction and imprisonment in the event that a decision taken in medical consultation, that the woman was entitled to an abortion in Ireland given the risk to her life, was later found not to accord with Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution. Doctors also risked professional disciplinary proceedings and serious sanctions. The Government have not indicated whether disciplinary action has ever been taken against a doctor in this regard. The Review Group Report 1996, the Green Paper 1999 and the Fifth Progress Report on Abortion 2000 each expressed concerns about the lack of legal protection for medical personnel. As to the Government’s reliance on the C case, doctors consulted by women such as the third applicant were not in the same legal situation as those in the C case who were providing opinions as regards a rape victim who was a suicide risk, a situation falling clearly within the ambit of the X case.

255. Accordingly, and referring also to McCarthy J.’s judgment in the X case (paragraph 44 above), the Court does not consider that the normal process of medical consultation could be considered an effective means of determining whether an abortion may be lawfully performed in Ireland on the ground of a risk to life.

flippinada Wed 14-Nov-12 20:29:50

Agree sabine.

Is there anything someone from the UK could do to help, apart from fulminating on the sidelines?

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 20:31:47

And to clarify I never said this wasn't an abortion issue. It absolutely is. Savita should have been given an abortion regardless of any infection risk. She should not have been made to suffer for three days. She would have had that suffering with or without the infection and that that's what's wrong.

LineRunner Wed 14-Nov-12 20:32:22

Thanks, Xiao.

Cailin, I was quoting the words of the deceased woman's husband.

I am so angry at this. And sad, but mainly angry.

expatinscotland Wed 14-Nov-12 20:34:27

I'm quite sad about it, Pacific. How horrendous, to be in a hospital and not listened to and suffering so horribly. sad

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 20:34:33

I know Line. And I sympathise with him totally. But there is no way of supporting his statement. And of course the pro-life side will expect him to produce rock solid evidence that the abortion would have saved her. And like I said, I would bet my life savings that the medical evidence will show that an abortion would not have "without a doubt" saved her, so his arguments and the people of those supporting him will be discredited for no good reason.

flippinada Wed 14-Nov-12 20:35:10

Pacific me too.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Nov-12 20:35:26

Cailin - no, you're setting up a false argument based on a husband's emotional rather than coldly scientific evaluation. That's not what the argument is.

Pro-life - termination might not have saved her life.

thats true. But it might have done. Shit-poor argument.
That's about all the argument they've got isn't it?

Pro-womans rights - The balance of probability is that termination combined with proper attention to the womans health would have resulted in her survival. Termination would have made no difference to the outcome for the foetus - the poor mite was not going to survive. Early termination would have helped save the woman from days of agony.

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 20:36:04

Cailin - read the link from the Irish Times on what would have happened in a UK hospital, and why.

I do understand what you are saying, in wanting this NOT to end up as a pro-choice own goal.

But the husband of this poor woman in an intelligent professional man. Married to a dentist. He was presumably there for those days on the hospital and all the conversations with the doctors. He saw every thing that went on and heard every explanation. He has the exact timeline. He is in a better position to judge than any of us non-medicals on this thread.

Xiaoxiong Wed 14-Nov-12 20:36:27

Cailin I think you meant to say "She should not had that suffering with or without the infection" because she should have had an abortion when she needed it?

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 20:36:37

Here's a link to Choice Ireland


and here are some Irish women's experiences of abortion.


CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 20:37:02

What I'm saying is that instead of being a debate about the fact that a woman in pain should be given an abortion simply because she is a worthy human being who deserves not to suffer, it will become a pointless back and forth about whether the abortion was necessary to save her or not, just like this thread has. It DOESN'T MATTER whether it would have saved her or not, she still should have got it. But that fundamental point will get buried, the pro-life side will smugly say "well medical evidence says it wouldn't have saved her so we're right, ner ner ner" and we'll have to swallow that bollocks because there is no way to prove that it could have saved her.

That's what my whole argument is about.

Curtsey Wed 14-Nov-12 20:37:45

lisa there's such a lot about the medical details of this case that cannot be understood right now. The British Miscarriage Assocation has never come across a case like this. So we need to hear the findings of an independent report as soon as possible. Independent meaning carried out by experts who are not based in Ireland.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Nov-12 20:38:50

>Savita should have been given an abortion regardless of any infection risk. She should not have been made to suffer for three days. She would have had that suffering with or without the infection and that that's what's wrong.

couldn't agree more.

>And of course the pro-life side will expect him to produce rock solid evidence that the abortion would have saved her

if that's what they do it just discredits them. You can't prove the unprovable. If that's the line they take, massive own goal for them.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 20:39:13

Yes Xiao, that's right. She should have had an abortion regardless. What's barbaric is that she had to wait for her baby to die. The infection was secondary to that. But in the end that's what's going to be focused on unfortunately.

Curtsey Wed 14-Nov-12 20:39:17

That the Irish government needs to legislate IMMEDIATELY regardless of any case is not in dispute. If it hadn't been Savita it would have been somebody else. But it does sound like Savita's case was unusual.

LeBFG Wed 14-Nov-12 20:40:07

Not my last word after all.

What do you mean Cailin? Why do you want to bring in certainties? Who is saying aborting would 'certainly' have prevented her death? If reducing mc time down from 3 days reduces infection rates (sure there must be good evidence for this) then her chances of survival would have drastically improved. As you say, it'll all come out in the wash at the inquest.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 20:41:53

I would bet everything I have that in three months' time we will all be sitting reading the results of the inquest which will say "Hospital followed standard procedure regarding the miscarriage but were negligent in spotting the infection. No evidence was found that an abortion would have prevented the infection" and that'll be that. The issue is with the "standard procedure" which is what people seem to be missing, not with the infection or whether the abortion could have saved her.

Xiaoxiong Wed 14-Nov-12 20:43:37

Thank you squoosh. €100 now on its way to Choice Ireland. If anyone else has suggestions of practical actions those of us outside Ireland can take, financial or otherwise, please speak up.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 20:43:37

LeBFG - it was her husband who said abortion would have saved her "without a doubt" - that's where the certainties issue is coming in. He is the one setting up an indefensible position.

LeBFG Wed 14-Nov-12 20:45:15

But you're lumping us in with his comments. Is anyone on here saying the abortion would 'certainly' have saved her life?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Nov-12 20:45:40

>Who is saying aborting would 'certainly' have prevented her death?

the husband did.
I get Cailins point, I think - which is that the 'pro-life' camp must not be allowed to distort the issue by focussing on this - which is an unprovable.
The issues are (a) the total unacceptability of allowing a woman to suffer a moment longer than necessary for an unviable foetus and (b) that the balance of probability is that termination would have prevented her death.

BadDayAtTheOrifice Wed 14-Nov-12 20:45:55

Thats where the problem lies. Standard procedure would be to terminate the pregnancy- except if you're in Ireland of course!

LeBFG Wed 14-Nov-12 20:47:03

I'm afraid, whatever Ireland says after this, this is a debate equally about abortion and medical neglect.

TheOriginalLadyFT Wed 14-Nov-12 20:48:25

Eventually this wickedness will stop, because the European Court of Human Rights will prevail and the rights of women will finally be put before those of the Catholic Church

This case makes me sick to my stomach

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 20:50:57

Well done Xiao. I'm going to do the same, hopefully lots of other people will have a similar idea. The anti abortion coffers are huge.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 20:51:00

Also LeBFG - allowing a miscarriage to run its natural course is standard medical practice - it is done routinely in the UK too. So as far as that's concerned, the doctors don't have to defend it. What they have to defend is the fact that they didn't treat the infection quickly enough.

What the real issue is is the lack of choice. Allowing the miscarriage to happen naturally is given as a choice in the UK, but it is standard procedure in Ireland. Savita didn't want a natural miscarriage, she wanted an abortion, but was denied that choice. Getting tangled up in the fact that the standard procedure led to infection that wasn't treated quickly enough doesn't help the issue, because doctors can argue infection is a common complication of the procedure and their only failing was not spotting it in time. In fact, the real failing is that Savita did not have a choice to end the pregnancy. If she had had the abortion, she might still have got an infection and she might still have died, and it still would have been tragic. But the infection is not the issue. She should have had the choice not to suffer.

A spokesperson for the miscarriage association said "terminations would be carried out in British hospitals if it became clear that a miscarriage had caused, or was threatening to cause infection that would kill the mother.

Risks from surgery do exist in such cases, she acknowledged, but ‘if there was a huge amount of infection then the risks of not doing something about it would be greater than the risks caused’ by terminating the pregnancy.

In a case in a British hospital, she said, ‘you would hope that they would give medication to speed everything up, to open the cervix and contract the uterus to ensure that the miscarriage was completed quickly."

YY to 'balance of probability' that termination would have improved her chances of a good outcome for her.
For cyring out loud, this is barbaric.
I knew Ireland had not updated its legislation in recent history, but the fact that their Act is from 1861 just boggles my mind!

My stance on termination is very much 'If you don't like it, don't have one'. End of.
How dare anybody else have any say on the matter?!

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 20:57:33

Her husband was THERE. He is an intelligent man used to analysing information.

I am finding it very insensitive, and probably tasteless, that he is being criticised for giving his opinion on what he saw and heard over those 4 dreadful days.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 20:59:12

Put it this way, if she had recovered from the infection, would the abortion issue then not be a problem?

The fact that she died makes the situation horrible and tragic, but a woman shouldn't have to die in order to "prove" she needed an abortion. She should have had an abortion, regardless. If she had survived, it would still be totally justifiable for her to take action based on the fact that the hospital allowed her to suffer needlessly while waiting for the baby to die.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 20:59:53

Crikey, if the infection wasn't in the uterus then an abortion would have been pointless

I am wary about getting deeper into a discussion that I'm not qualified for &, as others have said she asked for a termination and was refused one. That's the issue & that's unnacceptable.


According to reports, she was told she was miscarrying & asked for a termination to avoid complications (being a dentist, she'd understand about infection). She was refused and, over the course of the next few days, she did indeed develop a complication - septicemia. If this is correct, it's rather ridiculous for anyone to suggest that an abortion would have made no difference. It very may well have done.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 21:01:20

it may very well have done I mean.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 21:03:27

Crikey I'm not arguing against you. An abortion could have saved her. We just don't know, and I am betting we will never know. If we focus on whether it could have saved her or not, the whole point of her suffering is lost. It doesn't matter if it could have saved her. She should still not have suffered in the way she did.

Do you see what I'm trying to say?

The pro-choice side are playing right into the pro-lifer's hands by getting embroiled in trying to "prove" the abortion was "necessary" to save her life. It shouldn't have had to be necessary to prevent her death, it was only necessary to prevent needless suffering. Focusing on picky details of whether it could have saved her only gives opportunities for the pro-life side to say "well it couldn't have saved her, therefore it wasn't necessary, therefore we're right."

It isn't standard medical procedure though is it? If she was in this country and her waters broke that early she would have been offered an induction for medical reasons

After an infection has set in, CailinDana, standard procedure is to complete the miscarriage quickly and with medical assistance.

NOT to let things run their course. You are being deliberately obtuse in ignoring this.

We agree on one thing. That there should not need to be a justification made, she should have had the abortion upon request.

But there are women miscarrying slowly in Ireland as we speak. The law has not been changed for their benefit yet. Your insistence that they can all be left to miscarry naturally at no greater risk to their health is doing them a disservice.

Both arguments can and should be made.

One is medical: sometimes a termination will save a woman's life.
One is ethical: a women has a right to bodily autonomy, and a right to life. No ethical justification should be required.

You cannot rewrite medical facts because they spoil the argument you'd like to make.

If people accepted the medical argument more women would not be placed at risk whilst the legislation is prevaricated on yet more.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 21:07:15

My previous arguments wrt to the medical side of things were to show that it's just not possible to say definitively "an abortion at this time would have prevented infection." Biologically there is no way to prove that, so setting yourself up with an indefensible argument isn't a good call. And that's what I'm worried the pro-choice side are doing by focusing so much on the fact that she got an infection. The doctors can easily argue that that was just a complication of the normal procedure and while they missed the infection and were negligent on that score, there is nothing to say an abortion would have prevented that. And they'll be right. And the pro-choice side will be left without a leg to stand on.

Forget about the infection and how necessary the abortion was. Focus on the fact that Savita was a scared woman in horrendous pain who begged the doctors to ease her suffering only to be told she had to continue in agony. That is what is incredible and shaming for Ireland.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 21:09:46

There is a vigil tomorrow evening at 5.30 at city hall in belfast. The irish times has a full list of vigils and protests.

MrsBucketxx Wed 14-Nov-12 21:10:13

its really scary that someones religion ,beleifs killed this woman who was neither irish or catholic,

lets hope the eu steps in.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 21:10:41

It's standard procedure in Ireland. It's offered as an option in the UK as long as no infection is present. Remember that when Savita entered hospital there was no sign of infection. In that circumstance a UK doctor would also have offered the same procedure, along with the other option of termination. Where the Irish doctors failed was in monitoring Savita for infection. By the time the infection was discovered it was in her blood, and an abortion would have had no effect at that stage.

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 21:12:26

Cailin, I do understand what you are saying, but you seem so intent on your point that you are not absorbing what the people who (while holding the same position wrt to the fact that the foetus should have been removed in any case) disagree with you are saying.

IF the law on abortion was not an issue in this case, why did the staff repeatedly check foetal heartbeat and only carry out the removal once it had gone? Why did they say 'this is a catholic country'. They could have said, in response fro a request fro the termination 'it isn't necessary / could pose a risk / won't help prevent infection'.

This is a terrible combination of medical negligence and the law.

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 21:13:23

And of course the UK representatives haven't dealt with this situation because there is no such thing as this situation in the UK - a termination would have happened quickly with no barrier.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 21:13:53

It doesn't matter if it could have saved her Sorry - but I think that matters rather a lot.

You are right in that, even if she hadn't died or wasn't even in danger of death, if an abortion was a) requested and b) would have prevented her suffering then it should have been allowed without question.

But she did die, Cailin and I think Savita's death must, must drive it home to the hardline pro-lifers that abortion is not always about choice, it's a medically necessary procedure too sometimes. How horrible that this woman, with so much to offer us with her skills, had to die for people to to actually confront this.

CalmingMiranda Wed 14-Nov-12 21:15:03

Cailin: we do not know those things! Such as when she first came in there was no sign of infection, or by the time it was discovered...etc. You are making wild presumptions.

Shenanagins Wed 14-Nov-12 21:18:38

That poor woman and her husband going through hell in what they believed to be a modern country, my heart goes out to the husband and i hope some good can come out of this.

sabine Wed 14-Nov-12 21:20:28


bureni Wed 14-Nov-12 21:20:29

Calmingmiranda, people also die in the U.K during childbirth due to incompetent doctors and staff. I do agree a termination was most certainly needed in this case and lack of is inexcusable.

I agree with Cailin insofar that the exact circumstances of the infection are a red herring and to focus on that alone sets up a position that is impossible to prove or disprove, namely 'an earlier termination would have saved her'.

Of course it matters whether or not it might have saved her - but it is just a matter of degrees of horrendousness IMO.

Wrt to heartbeat: there is a world of a difference between a healthy, viable FHB and 'a heartbeat': agonal rhythms do not support life, so it really is a bit pointless checking for it when a miscarriage is in progress. The poor, poor woman. And her husband.

DyeInTheEar Wed 14-Nov-12 21:24:45

And to help Irish women moving forward


HoleyGhost Wed 14-Nov-12 21:25:41
CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 21:27:21

You see Crikey, the hope that this case will "drive it home to the hardline pro-lifers that abortion...is a medically necessary procedure" is where this whole thing is going to be derailed IMO. Because the medical evidence will not support that. I'd bet anything on it. The pro-lifers will smugly be able to say "even in this case, abortion was not necessary," because pro-choice will have set themselves up for that fall by claiming it was absolutely necessary. I can totally see this whole thing getting buried in irrelevant details.

Calming at what point did I say the law on abortion wasn't an issue? The law on abortion is absolutely the issue, I've said it maybe 50 times!! I said Savita should have been given an abortion regardless of the risk of infection. But the law didn't allow that. And that's the problem.

Walnutcakelover Wed 14-Nov-12 21:31:27

This has made me very sad, how awful, rip sad

Thanks for posting those links, Dye and Holey

gussiegrips Wed 14-Nov-12 21:40:04

Really helpful links. thanks.

Still, no penny dropping of "oooooh, THAT explains it" - I don't much like the explanation I'm left with.

Shame, disgrace and shame.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 21:41:41

Because the medical evidence will not support that How do you know that exactly?

This is the problem I'm having with your posts. I suspect we're broadly in agreement, but you are making pronouncements that you are not qualified for & don't have the evidence to support. Most of the experts who are talking about this in the media are, indeed, saying that she might have been saved if she'd been allowed an abortion.

Now they could well be wrong, and you might be right - but stop being so definite, please. You don't know any more than I do.

But I agree with you - the real issue is that Savita's request about her own body was refused and that is unforgivable.

Read Holey's link, I beg of you, CailinDana. All the ethical arguments in the world cannot negate what this doctor is saying about the medical care this woman should have received

there is no medically acceptable scenario at 17 weeks where a woman is miscarrying AND is denied a termination

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 21:46:18

I don't see why people tell others what to say or think. It's very strange. I'll be as definite as I like. Because I feel sure about it. I am agreeing with you that it might have saved her but there is no way on god's green earth anyone can produce evidence to support the husband's assertion that it would have saved her "without a doubt." Not even the existence of gravity is proven "without a doubt." Now it shouldn't be necessary to absolutely prove it was absolutely necessary of course, it should be enough to say that she could have had a greater chance of survival. But we all know that that's not how abortion debates go. If you make a bold statement like "without a doubt" you absolutely have to back it up or be shot down in flames. And there is no way to do that.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 21:46:21

I suggest that you read HoleyGhosts link, Cailin.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 21:50:11

Er - yes, the existence of gravity is proven without a doubt, Drop and pencil - that's gravity. It's just not well understood yet.

You have no medical qualifications, but you know better than people who do? Goodness me!

Read what an expert says - you know, those people who have spent years training & then treating people hmm

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 21:50:11

I did thanks Crikey.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 21:50:59

Then you can see that you're wrong.


And the logical conclusion of what that ob/gyn is saying in the link is that every woman in Savita's position should be able to get the termination they need NOW - before the legislation is changed.

yes yes yes, no justification should be necessary and I fervently hope that things change in Ireland to bring this about.

But in the meantime speaking out about the truth of the medical facts highlights how her medical care was negligent. There is no doubt about that.

Every doctor in Ireland should know that there is no medically acceptable scenario at 17 weeks where a woman is miscarrying AND is denied a termination.

Denying her a termination was medically unacceptable.

Regardless of the law.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 21:53:19

It's not about medical expertise Crikey it's about logic and argument. The existence of gravity is not proven because nothing is proven in science. Anyway that's a side issue.

You are not understanding what I'm saying. I'm not saying the medical experts are wrong and I'm right, I'm saying that now that the husband has used the words "beyond a doubt" everything will centre around that. And he has presented an argument that can't be supported. Which is why I'm saying the infection issue just clouds the whole thing - it'll become entirely about that and how necessary the abortion was and not about the fact that it didn't need to be medically necessary, it should have been done anyway.

Anyhow, interesting debate but I'm tired and really need to go to bed.

CailinDana Wed 14-Nov-12 21:55:00

Crikey I'm disappointed with your post at 21:50. There's no need for that. I find debating on here so frustrating, at some point even the most promising of posters resorts to things like that. It really irks me.

Anyway goodnight.

Flatbread Wed 14-Nov-12 21:56:52

This is absolutely shameful. On so many levels.

It is shameful that Savita didn't have a choice over her body
Shameful that doctors treated her so callously
Shameful that religious mullahs influence law and medicine

Another medical doctor's perspective:

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 21:57:28

It's not about medical expertise Crikey it's about logic and argument

Seriously? Qualified doctors say that an abortion would have saved her - but unqualified Cailin disagrees because of, er, logic?

Words fail me.

You're right - nothing's ever truly proven in science. But there's a balance of probabilities. In this case, that suggests that Savita could have been saved.


CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 21:59:49

This appears to be death from a critical delay in source control, in the face of septic shock. Removal of the fetus should have occurred emergently when she presented with signs and symptoms of sepsis in order to save her life. This was not done, and she almost certainly died as a result of this delay

From another expert, Cailin. Just so you know.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Wed 14-Nov-12 22:02:09

Just absolutely bollocks. I am so livid at this angryangryangry

An obgyn writes with beautiful clarity why EVERY miscarriage at 17 weeks necessitates the offer of a termination on medical grounds. That to deny a termination under these circumstances can only mean one of 3 things:
1. The medical team knew a termination was medically advisable but bowed to the law against their better medical judgement.
2. The law does provide for such circumstances, but the doctors ignored that provision and chose to act against the woman's best interests in favour of a dying foetus.
3. The doctors were negligent and / or incompetent in diagnosing and treating the infection, since infection must always be suspected whenever, preterm labor, premature rupture of the membranes, or advanced premature cervical dilation occurs.

Every conceivable medical scenario involves offering, not denying a termination for the sake of the mother's health.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Wed 14-Nov-12 22:03:46

cailin I think he has been shot in flames. His wife's dead.

FrameyMcFrame Wed 14-Nov-12 22:05:27

Well the story is not on the headlines of bbc news at 10. Obviously not deemed important enough by the men at the BBC.

Xiaoxiong Wed 14-Nov-12 22:06:42

I think I can see what Cailin is trying to say: she's worried that pro-life people will seize on the medical necessity of this particular abortion and claim that they are making sure this never happens again by focusing on providing further guidance for the medical exception to the main abortion law.

Instead she feels that we should be focusing on the fact that she should have been able to had the abortion as soon as she asked for it, regardless of whether or not it was medically necessary to save her life.

I think we need to focus on the ECHR ruling which states that as long as the abortion law remains as it is, there is no way that women will be able to have medically competent care because of the "chilling effect" the laws have on medical staff. Therefore, the mere existence of the laws as they stand mean that medical professionals are unable to provide competent medical care to women in Ireland because they're having to worry about possible prosecution.

Xiaoxiong Wed 14-Nov-12 22:07:12

Framey I just heard it on the news on Radio 4.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Nov-12 22:07:51

We're getting a false dichotomy here - its not either/or.

(a) She should have been allowed the termination to prevent pointless suffering.

All agreed?

but given that she wasn't and then developed infection
(b) then what is standard procedure elsewhere, to complete the miscarriage with medical assistance should have been expedited not delayed until the foetal heartbeat had stopped. Because probably it would lead to better outcome for her.

Mollydoggerson Wed 14-Nov-12 22:11:20

I think the Doctors failed her, they have a choice, they can elect to respond to certain emergency circumstances, they failed to do that. Shame on them.

What the husband has to say on the medical facts, whilst heartbreaking, will carry less weight than if the medical establishment stand up en masse to say that Savita should have been offered a termination on medical grounds. That it was malpractice to deny her this. That the current law whilst appalling, does not prohibit this under these circumstances.
Send a message to the doctors in Ireland who want to hide behind the current law - this is no defence. A termination was medically advisable, you knew this, and you denied it. A woman died because you knowingly failed to treat her as you should.

I've learned a lot today. I hope other women in Ireland can somehow find their position improved in the short term as these facts become common knowledge.

My thoughts with Savita and her family.

Goodnight all.

Xiaoxiong Wed 14-Nov-12 22:17:07

Yes I agree Grimma. I don't agree with Cailin but I can see what she's worried about with pro-life people incorrectly claiming they can prevent this situation ever happening again by merely expanding/clarifying the medical exception.

Basically the Irish government and population need to call bullshit on the archaic, misogynist, anti-life twin policies of restriction of contraception and abortion resulting from the insane Catholic natural law teachings and "ensoulment at birth". The Humane Vitae encyclical has caused so much suffering around the world, contributing to great amounts of misery and Pope Benedict XVI is a spineless coward for continuing it and using the ridiculous justification that "what was true yesterday is true today". You'd have to laugh if you weren't crying.

FrameyMcFrame Wed 14-Nov-12 22:18:35

Still no mention on the tv news Xia...

As Xiaosiong said, Caillin's argument is that whether or not the termination had saved her life, she should have been offered the choice of having one. Even if that had NOT saved her life.
Nowhere did Caillin say that she did not believe the prevailing medical opinion that having the termination in a timely manner would have improved her chances of surviving.
The danger Caillin sees - and I agree with her - is that the pro-life camp will focus solely on the life/death issue.

It frustrates me when in some debates in which everybody is in principle in agreement, seems to go out of their way to misunderstand.
But maybe that is just my sleep-deprived, muddled, middle-aged Brian. Which I am now taking to bed grin.

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 22:21:47

Cailin I think you are wrong to assert that "the medical evidence does not support" that an abortion would probably have saved her. Yes, the husbands "without a doubt" probably is a bit strong, but I hardly think we can blame him for that. Sorry, didn't mean to piss you off - but I think you're wrong on that aspect.

Maybe I am being a bit black and white but it seems to me that Savita presented with a set of symptoms which (according to the experts we've heard from) indicated that she needed an emergency abortion. This vital treatment was denied her because a fetal heartbeat could still be heard. She was forced to suffer (and ultimately die) to protect an unviable fetus - because the law says that's how it must be.

There's no way we can know whether she 100% would have lived. But her chances would surely have been better with an abortion than without.

rhetorician Wed 14-Nov-12 22:22:18

also useful as perspective http://criticallegalthinking.com/2012/11/14/savita-halappanavar-ireland-abortion-and-the-politics-of-death-and-grief/

rhetorician Wed 14-Nov-12 22:22:46
GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Nov-12 22:23:09

Absolutely the doctors failed her.

Were there any medical reasons not to terminate? No -It would be normal procedure elsewhere. Were there medical reasons to terminate? yes.

Were there ethical reasons not to terminate ? No (the foetus was not going to survive). Were there ethical reasons to terminate ? yes (initially, to prevent suffering).

Were there legal reasons not to terminate? From what I've read , actually no. If the consultant misunderstood the law, surely that is negligence on his part, s/he should have known ...if unsure they bloody well should have checked. And if there was any legal bar...if its against medical and ethical reason then the law is the worst sort of ass.

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 22:24:58

It may be on Radio 4 but it wasn't headlined or trailed on the BBC News at 10 - I've given up waiting on them.

It's true that doctors in Ireland need to make a stand. And it's very true that spineless politicians, who are quite happy to see women die, need to be held to account. Just saw one pathetic example on ITV news of a TD saying 'ooh, people shouldn't use this case to bring abortion into Ireland'. Bastard. Bet he's the kind of creep who was quite happy to look the other way when women were being imprisoned in the Magdelene Laundries for having children outside wedlock, and children were being tormented and abused in Catholic orphanages.

Haven't women and children suffered enough?

CrikeyOHare Wed 14-Nov-12 22:26:10

No one's going "out of their way to misunderstand", Pacific hmm

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 22:28:02

It's the lack of legislation that is the real crime. Yes the constitution says abortion can take place when the mother's life is in danger but successive Irish governments since 1992 have refused to put in place any actual legislation.

HoleyGhost Wed 14-Nov-12 22:34:48

So what would happen in Ireland if a foetus had a condition incompatible with life - would the mother be forced to carry it to term or travel for an abortion?

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 22:35:47

Exactly that.

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 22:35:50

Good grief, the carnage obstetricians have wrought on women in Ireland is horrific. After seeing rhetorician's link I looked up - a barbaric procedure carried out without consent, leaving women with life-long pain and disability. Carrying on until the 1980s and possibly beyond. And all because Irish obstetricians didn't want to do C-sections because women might start using contraception (if they had already had several sections).

Pacific, Cailin has stated many times through the thread that a termination wouldn't have made a difference to Savita. And she was of course very wrong to state that. In one of her earliest posts she claimed "BUT not having an abortion did not contribute to her death. Medically it doesn't make sense to claim that it did"

She held doggedly to that false assertion that the termination was not medically helpful for most of the thread, which was infuriating and denied the truth of Savita's negligent medical care throughout most of the thread.

Her position seems to have changed somewhat, and now she concedes that the termination might have helped after all, but that we shouldn't discuss it because it detracts from the argument we should be having instead.

However, as I am capable of understanding two arguments concurrently, I still feel it is valid to address the issue of whether her doctors failed her in addition to the law failing her too.

edam Wed 14-Nov-12 22:37:47

Holey, it's even worse than that, Ireland wouldn't allow women to travel for abortions until the X case - even when it was a death sentence. In the X case, the courts finally ruled that women could go abroad if their lives were at risk. That counts as progress, FGS!

squoosh Wed 14-Nov-12 22:38:19

God edam I'd never heard of that procedure before. Medieval.

You'd swear Ireland was a country that really despised and feared its female citizens.

AThingInYourLife Wed 14-Nov-12 22:42:24

"Yes the constitution says abortion can take place when the mother's life is in danger"

The constitution does not say that.

The Supreme Court judgement in the X Case says that.

The amendment to "protect" the right to life of the mother was rejected because it was so scarily pro-life that nobody other than the fundamentalists could support it.

HoleyGhost Wed 14-Nov-12 22:42:35

To answer my own question It seems she would need to travel, or carry a dying foetus to term.

If women in these awful situations must travel abroad , how is their aftercare managed?

HoleyGhost Wed 14-Nov-12 22:44:43

Slow typing lots of x posts

NomNomingiaDePlum Wed 14-Nov-12 22:44:45

no aftercare, holey, just crossed fingers.