Irish health chiefs axe hospital doctors from Savita death probe following husband's objection

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 21, 2012 10:20 hrs

Health chiefs in Ireland have axed three consultants from a high-level inquiry into the death of a pregnant Indian woman in hospital, who was refused a life-saving abortion in an Irish hospital.

The investigation to be launched on Monday is to look into the circumstances surrounding the death of Savita Halappanavar, who died from blood poisoning one week after suffering a miscarriage and being denied an abortion.

Health chiefs removed three senior consultants appointed to take part in the inquiry following complaints from Halappanavar's widower, who objected to include the doctors from the hospital where his wife died.

According to the Independent, Praveen Halappanavar said he was not willing to cooperate with the probe being carried out by Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) on the grounds that it would not be fully independent.

His lawyer Gerard O'Donnell said his client would not testify to the probe or authorise it to view his wife's medical records, a potentially crippling blow to its work, the report said.

Speaking to parliament, Ireland's Prime Minister Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced Health Minister Dr James Reilly had pulled the Galway University Hospital employees from the panel to ensure the investigation would be completely independent.

The doctors, Professor John Morrison, consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, Brian Harte, consultant in anaesthetics, and Catherine Fleming, consultant in infectious diseases, had no part in the care of Halappanavar.

"The three doctors will not be part of the investigation and therefore different personnel who are competent, who are experienced and who have no connection to Galway University Hospital will be appointed to conduct the investigation," Kenny said. (ANI)

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