Ireland: The Irish Times reports that an Indian woman named Savita Halappanavar (31) who was in the process of miscarrying her 17 week old fetus died in the hospital after three days of agonizing pain and being repeatedly denied an abortion.
Halappanavar, a dentist, first went to the hospital after first experiencing back pains and increasing discomfort. During the initial exam the doctors told her she was losing the fetus and there was nothing they could do to help. In fact, they said it would most likely be over in a few hours.
A day after the initial visit misses Halappanavar went to the hospital again, this time in excruciating pain, and asked if the doctors could induce pregnancy to remove the fetus that they said wouldn’t survive anyway. She was told they could not as there was still a fetal heartbeat, and that “this is a Catholic country”, therefore they could do nothing to help. When trying to explain she was neither Irish nor Catholic she was told this didn’t matter at all, as they would follow their policies as they saw fit.
This process went on for three whole days before the fetal heartbeat finally gave out, at which point doctors could remove it after Halappanavar had already been through increasingly intense pain and was even unable to walk (she would collapse if she ever got out of bed).
Following the procedure to remove the fetus Halappanavar died due to complications by infections of septicaemia and E.coli bacteria.
Currently two separate investigations are underway into her death, both internally by hospital staff and externally by authorities. No hospital staff have commented on this case.