Ireland's health information authority may pursue a further probe into the care of pregnant women in Irish hospitals if the inquiry into the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar finds that there may be "serious risks" to other women in a similar situations.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), which on Friday published the terms of reference for its investigation into the death of Savita said if it emerged that there may be "serious risks" to any other women in a similar situations in the future, it may recommend "further investigation or..a new [one]".
Savita, 31, died on October 28 at Galway University Hospital. She had been 17-week pregnant and was found to be miscarrying.
Her husband Praveen has said she asked repeatedly for a termination of the pregnancy but was refused on the grounds that the foetal heartbeat was still present and "this is a Catholic country".
The HIQA investigation will be into "the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women at risk of clinical deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar," according to The Irish Times.
It will review the safety and quality of care provided at the Galway hospital to deteriorating patients, including pregnant women and including the diagnosis and management of sepsis.
The authority will also review the arrangements in place to ensure safe services including promptly identifying, reporting and managing clinically deteriorating patients.
"If in the course of the investigation it becomes apparent that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there are further or other serious risks to the health or welfare of any person receiving similar services, the investigation team may recommend to the authority and/or the Minister for Health that these terms be extended to include further investigation or that a new investigation be undertaken, as appropriate." Membership of the investigation team will be finalised next week and its work will begin immediately, said a spokesman. The draft terms of reference were sent to Praveen?s solicitor earlier this week.
Praveen, however, has said he will not take part in it or the HSE inquiry. He will move to the European Court of Human Rights in his bid to have a sworn, public inquiry established.