2nd April, 2013
Savita Case: Pro Life Campaign says Guidelines not abortion legislation needed to safeguard the lives of women in pregnancy
“Nothing in ethics or law prevents doctors from intervening in such situations”, Dr Kiely says
University College Hospital Galway
Commenting on today’s media reports of the draft HSE inquiry into the Savita Halappanavar case, the Pro Life Campaign called for the “introduction of Guidelines to ensure best practice in safeguarding the lives of women in pregnancy.”
Dr Berry Kiely of the Pro Life Campaign said: “Today’s reports give a picture of a tragic series of missed warning signs that should have alerted doctors to the fact that Ms Halappanavar was suffering from an infection posing a substantial risk to her life, a condition that was treatable, but necessitated urgent intervention.
“It is a matter of great regret that the existence of serious infection was not recognised and acted upon swiftly. Removing the baby and the placenta is usually indicated whenever there is infection in the uterus.
“This is not an abortion or an attack on the life of the baby, but rather a necessary medical intervention to save the only life that can be saved. In these cases the baby is usually already dead or dying due to the infection and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. Delivering a baby that cannot be saved in order to save the life of the mother has never been unethical as can be seen from successive Medical Council ethical guidelines over the past 20 years. There is nothing in ethics or law that prevents doctors from intervening in such situations.
“Rather than proceeding with abortion legislation based on the flawed suicide grounds of the X Case, the Government should ensure that Guidelines are drawn up, for example, by the Irish Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, on the recognition and management of sepsis in pregnancy, which seems to have been the key issue in this sad case."