herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Nine hopsital staff disciplined over Savita death case

NINE hospital staff involved in the care of Savita Halappanavar have been disciplined after a review of her case.

The action was taken following a review of the care given to the 31-year-old dentist after she was admitted to University Hospital Galway in October 2012 when she was miscarrying.

She died seven days later from septicaemia having been refused a termination of her failed pregnancy.

The HSE has confirmed that disciplinary action has been taken against the nine staff members who continue to work at the hospital.

A further 21 staff members who were involved in caring for Savita were found to have "no case to answer". This includes staff in the hospital's ICU which were later praised for their care of Ms Halappanavar.

No staff members were dismissed or suspended.

standards

The HSE said the disciplinary action against almost all of the nine staff has now been completed, but the key objective was to "assist the employee to maintain the required standards rather than impose penalties".

Some staff members were required to undergo further training while others received written warnings.

"The disciplinary process in respect of most of the other nine staff is now complete. In some cases pre-procedural informal counselling with training and mentoring was applied, in others written warnings were issued," said a spokesperson for the West/North West Hospitals Group.

"The process is still underway for a small number of staff," they added.

The written warnings are issued for a period of nine months and give details of the complaint along with the improvements required and the timescale for that improvement.

The hospital group said the disciplinary review was confidential and it would not release names of those involved.

It is understood that the process is only ongoing for a small number of staff.

Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant and miscarrying when she was admitted to University Hospital Galway on October 21, 2012.

She died a week later on October 28 as a result of of septicaemia caused by ecoli ESBL.

Investigations

Following three separate investigations into her death, the hospital group ordered a review of the actions of all staff members involved in her care.

Reviews of Ms Halappanavar's care have also been carried out by a number of other bodies.

Savita's husband Praveen is also taking a civil suit against both the HSE and his wife's obstetrician Katherine Astbury.

Praveen's solicitor said he did not know of the disciplinary process until he was contacted by media seeking comment.

"I would have expected out of courtesy the HSE would have communicated this to us so I could have communicated with Praveen and got instructions from him as to what his reaction was," said Gerard O'Donnell.

"My own thoughts are that there have been a number of different inquiries into it, the internal HSE inquiry, the HIQA inquiry and the inquest, and following the internal HSE inquiry now I understand there has been disciplinary action taken against a number of staff members," he added.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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