Ireland for statutory probe into Savita's death

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 23, 2012 15:30 hrs

Bangalore, Nov 23 (IANS) Ireland will conduct a statutory inquiry into the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, 31, in Galway Oct 28 due to blood poisoning after doctors allegedly refused to terminate her pregnancy on ethical grounds, an Irish minister said Friday.

"We will set up a statutory inquiry into the death of Savita as sought by her husband (Praveen Halappanavar) though our government has already ordered a medical investigation into the incident," Ireland's Minister for Higher Education & Skills Ciaran Cannon told reporters here on the margins of an event.

Savita, who hails from Belgaum in the northwest of Karnataka, about 500 km from here, became a tragic victim of an Irish law, which prohibits abortion in the Catholic country.

Praveen, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, about 201 km from Irelan's capital Dublin, has demanded a public investigation into his wife's death as he expressed reservations on the inquiry being conducted by a three−member team set up by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), replacing the Galway University Hospital probe team.

"We hope Praveen will trust us in conducting an impartial inquiry into the tragic loss of his wife and its outcome, which will be independent of the medical investigation, which is being carried to ascertain the circumstances under which she died," Cannon said.

According to a hospital bulletin, Savita, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died of septicaemia after she suffered a miscarriage.

"We need to establish the exact details of how Savita's tragic death occurred and ensure that there will be clarity to medical practitioners as to how they should operate in a case like this (Savita's)," Cannon said.

Asked if his government was amending laws to prevent such an occurrence on ethical grounds, Cannon said an experts' group, set up early this year, had submitted its report recommending options to doctors.

"The government is yet to study the report and its options as life of a mother is primary over any other consideration. I hope we will have more clarity to ensure that such a tragic death as Savita's will not occur again in our country," Cannon said.

Cannon was in this tech hub to participate in a panel discussion on 'Future Skills and Innovation', organised by the Irish Global Business Development and Science Foundation.

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