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HSE names new members of Savita investigation team

It has also published the terms of reference for the investigation into the death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar.

Members of the public gathered outside Leinster House this evening calling for legislation to be introduced to deal with the issue of abortion after the death of Savita Halappanavar
Members of the public gathered outside Leinster House this evening calling for legislation to be introduced to deal with the issue of abortion after the death of Savita Halappanavar
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE HSE HAS named the new members of the team investigating the death of Savita Halappanavar in the University Hospital Galway, and the terms of reference for the inquiry.

The Chairman of the Investigation Team, Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, announced the three experts who will join the team:

  • Professor James Walker, Professor and Honorary Consultant of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in St James’ University Hospital in Leeds, UK
  • Dr Brian Marsh, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and immediate past-Dean, Joint Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine of Ireland
  • Professor Mary Horgan, Consultant Physician in Cork University Hospital and Professor in the School of Medicine, University College Cork

The newly constituted team will operate within the Draft Terms of Reference below. The HSE said that Sir Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran’s “experience and credentials are beyond reproach”.

The Investigation Team will carry out a thorough, methodical and fair investigation that will seek to establish the facts and to identify any causal or contributory factors that may have influenced the death of Ms Halappanavar.

The HSE said it is keen that Mr Praveen Halappanavar will now engage with the Investigation Team in order to complete this investigation as expeditiously as possible, saying: “The chairman remains open to meeting with Mr Halappanavar.”

Draft Investigation Terms of Reference

Th investigation will be overseen by the National Incident Management Team (NIMT) and the final report will be provided to the National Director of Quality and Patient Safety.

The purpose of the investigation is to:

  • Establish the factual circumstances leading up to the incident
  • Identify any key causal factors that may have occurred
  • Identify the contributory factors that caused the key causal factors
  • Recommend actions that will address the contributory factors so that the risk of future harm arising from these factors is eliminated or if this is impossible, is reduced as far as is reasonably practicable.

The time frame of this investigation/review will be from Savita Halappanavar’s admission to GUH on 21 October 2012 to her death on 28 October 2012.

Through the chairperson, the investigation team will:

  • Be afforded the assistance of all relevant staff and other relevant personnel.
  • Have access to all relevant files and records (subject to any necessary consent/data protection requirements including court applications, where necessary).

Investigation method

The investigation will follow the HSE Guidelines for Systems Analysis Investigation of Incidents and Complaints (QPSD November 2012) and will be cognisant of the rights of all involved to privacy and confidentiality; dignity and respect; due process; and natural and constitutional justice.

The investigation will commence with immediate effect and will be conducted in the shortest timeframe necessary to achieve the purpose of the investigation.

Following completion of the investigation, an anonymised draft report will be prepared by the investigation team outlining the chronology, findings and recommendations. All who participated in the investigation will have an opportunity to give input to the extracts from the report relevant to them.

The anonymised report will be shared with the next of kin and may be published and may be subject to a Freedom of Information request. The report, when finalised, will be presented to the commissioner of the investigation

Read: Savita: Galway University Hospital staff removed from Investigation Team>

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