UHG in eye of storm over woman’s death
Date Published: 15-Nov-2012
BY DENISE McNAMARA
Outrage over the death of a pregnant woman from blood poisoning at University Hospital Galway after she was denied an abortion despite being “in agony” for three days while miscarrying will spill onto the streets this weekend with a vigil planned for Saturday in Eyre Square.
The horrific case of 31-years-old Savita Halappanavar, who died a week after being admitted to UHG for back pain while she was 17 weeks pregnant, prompted headlines around the world as campaigners urged politicians to legislate for legal terminations to prevent another similar death.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Health James Reilly did not rule out an independent inquiry being held into the circumstances of her death, but in the meantime two investigations will take place, one by the Health Service Executive and the other by the hospital.
The HSE review of the case is expected to take up to three months to complete and will be led by an independent, external expert in obstetrics and gynaecology. The terms of reference and the members of the team have yet to be finalised in consultation with her husband, Praveen Halappanavar.
The Halappanavars moved to Roscam in 2008. Savita, who trained as a dentist in India, had been working in a dental practice in Westport after passing the Irish Dental Council exams last year.
She was described a “wonderful classical Indian dancer” and was one of the organisers of the annual five-day Diwali festival for Galway’s Indian community. This year’s Diwali festival, due to start this week, has been cancelled in the wake of the tragedy.
Praveen (34) said in several media interviews that once Savita was told there was no possibility her baby would survive, she begged to have a termination because of the chronic pain she was suffering.
The engineer with Boston Scientific said this was refused because the foetal heartbeat was still present and she was told by a consultant that “their hands were tied” because this was a Catholic country.
“She developed shakes and shivering and she was vomiting. She went to use the toilet and she collapsed. There were big alarms and a doctor took bloods and started her on antibiotics.
“The next morning I said she was so sick and asked again that they just end it, but they said they couldn’t,” he stated.
Once the foetal heartbeat had stopped three days after her admission to hospital, the dead foetus was removed. Her condition deteriorated and she was taken to the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia on October 28.
Praveen was returning to Galway yesterday after bringing his late wife’s body to Belgaum in southwest India to be cremated, and he has vowed to campaign for reform of the abortion laws.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.
Galway in Days Gone By
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup
Date Published: 29-Jan-2013
Athenry FC 1
Kilbarrack United 2
(After extra time)
For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.
On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.
An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.
However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.
They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.
With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.
Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.
Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.
Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.