Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar may have survived if her pregnancy had been terminated, something that could not have been done under Ireland’s laws, a top Irish obstetrician has testified.
Dr Peter Boylan, clinical director of Ireland’s National Maternity Hospital, shared his forthright assessment while giving evidence at an inquest into Halappanavar’s death on Wednesday.
Halappanavar died from miscarriage in an Irish hospital in October last year, apparently after being refused an abortion, prompting global protests against Ireland’s strict Catholic laws.
Boylan, who has written an 18-page report on the death, is already on record saying the issue of abortion hangs like “a sword of Damocles” over his profession in Ireland. At the inquest in Galway, he said that three days after Halappanavar was admitted to hospital it was clear that she had developed sepsis. But the continuing presence of a foetal heartbeat meant that her doctor felt it necessary to obtain a second opinion on terminating the pregnancy because of the legal situation.