Praveen Halappanavar upset at draft report leak

Updated: Wednesday, 13 Feb 2013 23:11

The solicitor representing the husband of Savita Halappanavar has said his client is very upset at the manner in which an apparent draft of the report into the death of his wife at Galway University Hospital was leaked today.

Gerard O'Donnell told RTÉ’s Drivetime that Praveen Halappanavar is upset at details having entered into the public domain without him having had a chance to view the report.

Mrs Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist from India, was 17 weeks pregnant and was miscarrying when she attended Galway University Hospital on 21 October last year complaining of back pain.

She died a week later.

Mr O'Donnell earlier told RTÉ he had not seen any draft report into the death of Mrs Halappanavar.

It was reported this morning 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.

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

It also makes findings on whether a termination of pregnancy could or should have been offered at an early stage, before Ms Halappanavar requested it on Tuesday, 23 October, having been admitted on Sunday, 21 October.

The draft reports 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.

Mr O'Donnell said he was "surprised and disappointed" at the apparent media leak.

He said he only received a letter from the HSE last week asking him to consider meeting the inquiry chairman, Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, to discuss the draft chronology, 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.

He said 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 on 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 21 October.

She died a week later on 28 October.

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.

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

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.

Minister of State for Public Service Reform Brian Hayes said it was the normal course of events that when an independent report was being compiled, those who had been named in it had right to see it and have feedback into the final process.

He said it could be another week or two before the final report was delivered to the Minister for Health and the Department of Health.

He warned that people needed to be careful not to come to any conclusions before there was a conclusive report.

But the minister said it was important that the matter be brought to an end in order to see what had happened in what he described as a "dreadful" case.