Inquest rules Savita died of 'medical misadventure'

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London, April 19: Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who lost her life after being denied an abortion at a hospital in Ireland, died of "medical misadventure", a jury at her inquest today ruled unanimously.

The ruling at Galway Courthouse found there were systemic failures or deficiencies in the care given to 31-year-old Savita, originally from Karnataka.

"You showed tremendous loyalty and love to your wife. All of Ireland followed the case," coroner Ciaran MacLoughlin told Savita's husband Praveen Halappanavar as he released the verdict at the end of the seven-day inquest today.

The jury also accepted all nine recommendations put forward by coroner Ciaran MacLoughlin, including the failure to chart observations of vital signs every four hours, a failure to pass on information about an elevated white cell count, an "inordinate delay" in reporting back on blood samples and issues relating to note-taking.

Dr McLoughlin had also said that the Medical Council should clarify exactly when a doctor can intervene to save the life of a mother, which will remove doubt or fear from the doctor and also reassure the public.

Savita was 17 weeks pregnant when admitted to University Hospital Galway on October 21 last year. She died a week later from blood poisoning after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy, telling her that the foetal heartbeat was still present and "this is a Catholic country".

Her husband has also maintained that his wife would have been alive today if her two requests for a termination had not been turned down on the grounds that Ireland is a "Catholic country" with complex anti-abortion laws.

"I am still optimistic. The question that has always been in my mind is why Savita died. It has been very tough. Today was actually our wedding anniversary so it's even more hard. Hopefully there will be bright days ahead and something good will come," the 34-year-old had told reporters outside the courthouse earlier today.


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