Date Published: 12-Apr-2013
THE Inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar heard yesterday that the particular strain of bacteria identified in her blood culture was a highly unusual one in a maternity setting, and the only such result seen across four other maternity hospitals in as many years.
At the fourth day of the inquiry at Galway Courthouse, a concern was raised following the deposition by consultant microbiologist, Dr Deirbhile Keady, over an apparent delay of nearly four hours between a crucial sample being taken and it being received in the lab on October 24 – four days before she died.
Dr Keady said that there had been no collection time (from the ward) written on the sample, but that the computer entry from the lab indicated that it was ‘booked in’ there at 10.12am – another doctor had told the Inquest on Wednesday that the sample was taken from Savita at 6.30am.
Senior counsel for Mr Halappanavar, Eugene Gleeson, had put it to the witness that any such delay would have been crucial in the care of his client’s late wife.
However, Dr Keady said that this would not have been the case. She became aware of Savita’s grave condition when consultant obstrician, Dr Katherine Astbury, sought her advice on the management of the infection that the young woman obviously had – the bacteria was later established as ‘ESBL e-coli’ – and that the medication did not change once the result was confirmed.
“In this situation, from the conversation I had (with Dr Astbury), she was put on appropriate antibiotic treatment – the result didn’t change the management,” Dr Keady told Mr Gleeson.
“These antibiotics cover all the likely pathogens … the treatment covers a range of bacteria … it wouldn’t have made a difference if we’d got the blood culture at 6am.”
She said that when the results were relayed to her at home that night, she rang the nurse caring for Savita to check that she was still on the same two antibiotics that had been prescribed earlier in the day, which she was.
“I understood (from the call) that she was more stable,” she said.
Mr Buckley pointed out to the Inquest that the organisms had been “sensitive” to the medication.
He asked Dr Keady to explain if ‘ESBL e-coli’ was a common finding in a maternity setting, to which she replied that it was very unusual. She went on to say that she subsequently contacted four other maternity units around the country and discovered that, of results recorded over a four-year period, this was the only blood culture to come back as ‘ESBL e-coli’.
For further reports see page 6 of this week’s City Tribune
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.
Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.
She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.
Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.
Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.
When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.
Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.
And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.
All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.
“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”
That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.
For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here
ItÕs time for my Organic Galway Ramble #4,365!
Date Published: 24-Jan-2013
As regular colyoomistas will know, I’m a strangely conflicted type of bloke. The lucky owner of a full range of social skills hewn, sanded-down and polished-up during years spent hitch-hiking around the planet, I can talk to and get on with anybody from any country, social stratum and culture.
Thing is, I don’t really like to. Essentially, I’m a reformed loner. Living on my own in west Connemara and north Mayo for several years, I settled into a silent life of walking, work and talking to animals. If it wasn’t for my need to watch Chelsea games, I’d never have left the house.
Thankfully I was blessed in both houses with good friends to visit nearby, God love ‘em, preservers of my sanity, but inasmuch as I loved that life, I knew that it wasn’t good for me.
Whether you call it OCD or control freakery or just another scribbler going stir crazy, I started to behave obsessively.
My knife and fork.
This goes there and nowhere else.
Not healthy at all, but thankfully from the inside I was able to recognise that it was a bit of a dark one-way street, so I returned to the city and engaged the human race once more.
Now I have the best of both worlds, with rural solitude during my working walking day and the Snapper for company in the evening. Her presence encourages me to behave as an almost fully-formed human, but truth be told, I get away with murder. Maybe it’s one of the benefits of married life: as mutual comfort levels increase and personal standards plunge into decline, I regress into slobdom.
Social skills are like all others; they require practice. So in an effort to polish-up my personality, I head into town for one of my Organic Galway Rambles.
Unlike sane and sensible people, the two ingredients required for my ideal night-out are a lack of people around town and, as a self-appointed honorary Galwegian, an absolute absence of firm arrangements.
Heading across Wolfe Tone Bridge, chin down into the freezing north-easterly wind, I head up onto Quay Street. The blackened glistening cobbles echo the utter emptiness of Galway’s social heart. The early night air is sodden with sideways rain, while the wind is whipping around my gonads like spaghetti around a spoon.
Lovely! Perfect! A freezing cold lashing-down Tuesday evening in January. It has been too long. Welcome home, Charlie Adley!
My anti-social ingredients increase the likelihood that there will be barstools available everywhere. Nothing worse than having to sit at a table on your own. Let me stare at the optics and space out.
But first, as ever, a feast of fish and peas in McDonagh’s. Nothing else better sets me on my way mentally, physically, spiritually prepared for anything.
Belly warm and lined, I slip onto a barstool in the front bar of the Quays, where three others are sat, having a chat. A basket of hot sausages and goujons appears. The craic is quiet and mighty all at once. A late Christmas whiskey arrives in front of me, which tastes all the sweeter, because somehow the barman knew my name.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Ballinasloe dig deep to book date in Croker
Date Published: 30-Jan-2013
An Port Mor (Armagh) 0-10
CIARAN TIERNEY AT KINGSPAN BREFFNI PARK
The men of Ballinasloe are on their way to Croke Park after overcoming a spirited second half fight-back from 14-man An Port Mor of Armagh in a keenly contested All-Ireland Junior Football semi-final at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday.
Seven points up against a team who had corner forward Christopher Lennon sent off late in the first half, Ballinasloe looked to be cruising to victory at the break – but ultimately they had to dig deep to see off a defiant late challenge from the Ulster champions.
Ultimately, the damage was done in the first half. St Grellan’s produced some fine football in that opening period, two goals from central attackers Padraic Cunningham and Michael Colohan giving them the seven point cushion which made all the difference in the end.
Ballinasloe will have to analyse why they lost their way somewhat in the second period but, led by Man of the Match Darragh McCormack, Paul Whelehan, Liam Lynch, Gary Canavan, and Keith Kelly, they produced some delightful football to cause all sorts of bother in the An Port Mor defence throughout the opening period.
Backed by a huge travelling support from the East Galway town, Sean Riddell’s side enjoyed a dream start as rampant corner forwards McCormack and Whelehan combined to win a free which was comfortably slotted over the bar by Kelly after two minutes.
Even better was to come three minutes later when McCormack brilliantly rounded his man before providing a perfect pass for Whelehan, who was hauled down in the penalty area. Centre forward Padraic Cunningham calmly slotted the spot kick to the bottom left hand corner and they were 1-1 to no score up with five minutes gone.
McCormack and Whelehan combined well again before Canavan set up a good score for midfielder Lynch, but An Port Mor looked to be right back in the game when corner forward Shane Nugent was fouled in the Ballinasloe penalty area with 11 minutes on the clock.
Centre forward David Curran blasted the penalty over the crossbar, however, to the relief of the large Ballinasloe following. Curran provided the next score from a short-range free, following another foul on Nugent, but the Armagh men had to wait until the 30th minute before registering their first point from open play.
Ballinasloe enjoyed a purple patch at this stage, hitting 1-3 without reply, including a brace of points from Whelehan and a well-taken score on the run from Lynch, who dominated the midfield sector.
The Connacht champions produced some sublime moves in the third quarter and could have added a second goal when the superb McCormack had a shot blocked down, after his initial effort was deflected back into his path, following good work by Lynch.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.