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The Hospital has apparently released Savita's medical records to her husband, so they may well end up in the public domain shortly. His lawyer's first reaction is to note they make no reference to Savita's requests for an abortion. So their completeness and accuracy is immediately open to question.

The Chairman of the inquiry team is a senior professional with a very high international reputation. Given that he has advocated for wider availability of abortion in countries where it is currently very restricted seems to indicate he is at least not a "pro-life" nut job like those medics who recently passed the Dublin Declaration.

The other members of the inquiry team are all Irish medical professionals/administrators/advocates who probably have no great desire to throw their colleagues in Galway under a bus. However the reputation of the profession is at stake, so I doubt they would cover up clear medical malpractice. They may, however, be tempted to pass responsibility onto the politicians who have failed to provide a clear legal framework so that professionals know where they stand and what treatment options are available to them under what circumstances.

I suspect their remit is only to examine the circumstances of Savita's death. They will probably not make specific recommendations for legislative, much less Constitutional changes. So there will be lots of wriggle room and  controversy as to what legal changes are required even if the Inquiry finds legislative changes are required.

Indeed the original Inquiry - in addition to having it's three Galway Hospital based members removed - now seems to be downgraded to the status of a "Clinical Review" and with Health Information and Quality Authority being asked to initiate a Statutory Inquiry. Perhaps this will satisfy Savita's husband demand for an independent public inquiry.

HSE asks Hiqa to carry out Savita Halappanavar inquiry - The Irish Times - Thu, Nov 22, 2012

The Health Service Executive has asked the State's health watchdog Hiqa to initiate a statutory inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Separately, Praveen Halappanavar's solicitor Gerard O'Donnell has said there is no record in Ms Halappanavar's medical file of her requests for a termination while she was being treated in University Hospital Galway.

The director general designate of the HSE Tony O'Brien said even if Ms Halappanavar's family decided not to co-operate with the executive's inquiry, the review "must be brought to a conclusion".

"There was 'no way' the inquiry could be stopped as it would be "criminally negligent" not to proceed, he said.

Mr Halappanavar's decision not to participate in the inquiry "does not absolve the HSE of an obligation to ensure that the inquiry proceeds" he said. The HSE inquiry would provide it with a clinical information that may be of "immediate value" in the hospital,he said.

In order to give "further reassurance" to her family and the public, Mr O'Brien said he told the Hiqa chief executive  he will request that Hiqa initiate its own statutory inquiry. This could take place before the HSE inquiry concluded, he said.

It was not "either or" as to a public review and the HSE clinical inquiry, he told RTÉ Radio's News at One.  There will also be a coroner's process under way shortly which has "many attributes of a public inquiry," he said.

Mr O'Donnell said he had studied the medical records given to the family closely and had written to the HSE about them on Monday.

Mr O'Donnell's main concern was that there was no request documented in the Savita Halappanavar's medical records that she or her husband had repeatedly sought a termination.

"There's absolutely no entry by the medical team of this in the medical records," he told RTÉ.

In response Mr O'Brien said any information that Mr Halappanavar had that would "speak to any inconsistencies between what's in the record and his personal knowledge would be of great value to the review team".

He also that the HSE was not as "aware as it should have been of the wider context that was emerging" and was focused on the "clinical aspects" in its inquiry.

Asked about the inclusion of three Galway clinicians in the original review team, he said Minister for Health Dr James Reilly was not aware of the total composition before it was announced because that was a matter for the HSE.

Once the HSE heard the concerns of the family it took steps to have the Galway clinicians stand down, he said.

Earlier today, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton welcomed President Michael D Higgins's intervention in the controversy over the inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Ms Burton said she had read and heard the comments made by the President and believed they were considerate, thoughtful, reflectful and humane, she added.

President Michael D Higgins yesterday intervened in the continuing row over the inquiry into the death of Ms Halappanavar, saying it must meet the needs of her family as well as those of the State.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 22nd, 2012 at 10:15:06 AM EST
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