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Staff disciplined over their role in the care of Savita Halappanavar

Her husband, Praveen, had not been informed of the disciplinary action.

Image: Peter Morrison/AP/Press Association Images

Updated 11.02am

A NUMBER OF staff at University Hospital Galway have been disciplined over their role in the Savita Halappanavar case.

The 31-year-old died at the hospital in 2012 after suffering a miscarriage.

A year later, the West/North West Hospital Group pledged to review the actions of all staff members involved in the care of Halappanavar.

This was “in the interest of restoring public confidence in the maternity services at University Hospital Galway”.

Out of 30 staff members whose actions were considered, 21 had “no case to answer”, according to a statement from the hospital group.

This would have included staff in areas such as the Intensive Care Unit.

The disciplinary process is still under-way for some staff.

The solicitor of Praveen Halappanavar’s, Savita’s husband, said that he had received no communication regarding the disciplinary action.

Inquests into the death of Savita Halappanavar Praveen Halappanavar Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

“I would have that that HSE would have communicated it,” Gerard O’Donnell told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, “and I would have been able to communicate it to [Praveen].”

He added that while “nothing will bring back Savita”, he hopes that lessons have learned from her death.

O’Donnell noted that Praveen Halappanavar is currently not in the country.

Among the nine staff disciplined, some received ‘informal counselling with training and mentoring was applied’, while others were issued with written warnings.

University Hospital Galway has also defended itself against low marks received for the implementation of HIQA recommendations.

“It must be borne in mind that this is a self-assessment process and we do not see it as a negative if we have marked ourselves hard on this self-assessment,” the statement added.

The statement detailed that “significant progress” has been made on the implementation of the HIQA investigation, including:

  • Staff in the maternity unit have undergone structured training in the detection and management of sepsis
  • Handover between shifts of medical staff is now via a structured handover meeting that all members of the multidisciplinary team attend, meaning that any potentially deteriorating/unwell patients are discussed
  • A revised risk management structure has been implemented across the group and in particular in the maternity units with an electronic reporting and monitoring system
  • Most staff have been trained in the national early warning score and it has been fully implemented for all pregnant women in GUH since November 2012

The results of an external review of the changes in care, requested by the board of the hospital group, is expected in November.

Originally published 7.59am

Read: Candlelit vigils mark one year since Savita’s death >

More: HIQA to investigate extent of serious adverse incidents at Portlaoise >

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Nicky Ryan

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