15 June 2015
The HSE and Minister Leo Varadkar must authorise a formal review of an abortion carried out in a Leinster hospital after staff in “several areas”, including “nurses, obstetricians, anaesthetists and psychiatrists” expressed concern about the case, the Life Institute said today.
Niamh Uí Bhriain said that it was ‘extraordinary’ that staff concerns would be ignored or covered up, and said that the Health Minister should order the review immediately in order to avoid charges that he had ignored whistle-blowers who had raised concerns which may indicate the misuse of the abortion act.
The case was reported by the Sunday Business Post yesterday who said that ‘some staff were concerned that the patient had no prior history of contact with mental health services, had not self-harmed and may not have been offered alternative therapies to the abortion.’
It is believed that the patient presented at the hospital as suicidal and pregnant and was seen by two psychiatrists, who certified her as suitable for an abortion. However, when it emerged that the second psychiatrist was ineligible to complete the necessary form, the patient declined to see two other local psychiatrists, and instead travelled to Dublin where she was seen by a ‘prominent pro-choice psychiatrist’ in order to be certified for an abortion.
Ms Uí Bhriain said that it was unacceptable for the Minister or the HSE to ignore the concerns of so many medical staff in relation to the abortion. "We saw from the Oireachtas Committee hearings that the evidence showed that abortion was not considered a treatment for suicidality in pregnancy."
"If medical staff feel that there are questions to be answered around an abortion case, then Leo Varadkar is failing in his duties if he refuses to investigate that," she said.
"Abortion kills a baby: it should be a matter of urgent investigation if there is any possibility whatsoever of the Act being misused," she said. Ms Uí Bhriain said that no one had any interest in identifying the woman at the centre of the case, rather it was crucial to investigate staff concerns regarding an abortion that had been carried out.
The Sunday Business Post reported that that Fianna Fáil deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked Minister for Health Leo Varadkar about the case in the Dáil, but that the Minister said that no investigation into the case had been carried out.
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