Anger after draft HSE Savita report is leaked to media

Galway Advertiser,

Calls were made last night for increased security in the HSE and other Government departments after a draft report into the death of Savita Halappanavar was leaked to a Dublin evening newspaper.

The draft report which has not yet been handed to Health Minister James Reilly or to Praveen Halappanavar was published last night in the the Evening Herald.

The report which is not privileged because it is still a draft report allegedly made findings on whether a termination of pregnancy could or should have been offered at an early stage, before Ms Halappanavar requested it on Tuesday, October 23, having been admitted on Sunday, October 21.

The draft reports also deals with whether the absence of legislation on abortion was a factor and if the medical management of the case was in line with best practise, in terms of recording basic checks such as pulse, blood pressure and temperature.

Galway-based solicitor Gerard O’Donnell, who represents Mr Halappanaver said last night that he had not seen any draft report into the death of Savita Halappanavar and that he was surprised and disappointed at the manner in which it found its way into the media.

It was reported earlier that the final draft of the Health Service Executive report had been issued to those involved in the case to allow them to challenge or correct any inaccuracies and it is believed it was at this stage that a copy was leaked to the media.

The draft report makes findings in relation to key issues like whether tests for possible blood infection were followed up in good time and if was there ever an opportunity to save her baby.

Mr O’Donnell said only last week he received a letter from the HSE asking him to consider meeting the inquiry chairman, Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, to discuss the draft progression, as the investigation was reaching a crucial juncture. Mr Halappanavar has not cooperated with the review up to now.

Mr O'Donnell said he told the HSE that the family would like to see the draft final report first to deal with any inaccuracies and they might then be willing to meet the chairman.

Earlier, Minister for Health James Reilly said if someone mounts a legal challenge that could cause problems as the inquiry team was still compiling its findings.

Mr Reilly said he hopes to receive the final report of the HSE's clinical review within ten days.

"I have no report in my hands, nor has my secretary general or my chief medical officer," he said.

Mr Reilly added that he was not sure what the assertions in the media related to or if they related to an early draft. He said he could not comment until he had the report.

Ms Halappanavar was 17 weeks' pregnant and was miscarrying when she attended University Hospital Galway on October 21. She died a week later on October 28.

The Irish Patients' Association described the leaking of an “incomplete” draft of the review as scandalous.

Stephen McMahon said it must be very distressing to all those involved and the public who have been so saddened by the tragedy.

He questioned what level of security was practised by the HSE in relation to reports such as this.

Mr McMahon said that having proposed the separate statutory HIQA investigation, he hoped it would have better security around its drafts and final report.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil that the report is not finalised and has not been seen by the Minister for Health.

Mr Kenny said there are three investigations ongoing and it was his view that Mr Halappanavar should be the first to be briefed on the issue.



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