Boylan is wrong: Top experts comment on Savita case

Cross-posted from the Life Institute Blog  

Dr Peter Boylan’s claim that Ireland’s abortion laws prevented the correct treatment of Savita Halappanavar has been contradicted by top experts in Obstetrics and in Emergency Medicine.

Professor Stephen Cusack, who is professor of Emergency Medicine in University College Cork, tweeted that ‘Dr Boylan would like us all to think that an abortion would have solved the problem. Not so simple. Far too many things went wrong.’

He then posted a link to a guide on managing sepsis and said ‘You need to read this Dr Boylan’.

‘What would have saved the patient was coherent care, recognition of sepsis and communication,’ continued the UCC professor.

Professor Cusack’s remarks came as Dr Boylan took an increasingly ideological stance for abortion on the TV3 programme, Tonight with Vincent Browne.

Earlier, Professor John Bonner pointed out during a Prime Time debate that signs of infection, including ruptured membranes with a raised temperature, should have been noted and acted upon, including delivery of the baby at that time.

“My concern would be that the tests for infection were not heeded. There should have been swabs taken when she was admitted, we should have identified what the organisms were, we should have started the antibiotic treatment, and then terminated, and that could have been done by Tuesday,” he said.

Dr Boylan has insisted that the law would not have allowed the baby to be delivered on Tuesday, that there were no signs of infection at that stage, and is arguing that requests for abortion should be the basis of clinical decisions.

However, the evidence of Dr Susan Knowles, the consultant microbiologist who gave expert testimony to the inquest disputed Dr Boylan’s claim.

She stated that:

  • The blood test taken on Sunday indicated that Savita’s body may have been fighting a subclinical infection even before her membranes ruptured, and that this test was not followed up properly.
  • She also pointed out there were “subtle indicators” of sepsis and chorioamnionitis on Tuesday.

Dr Knowles also added that the antibiotic treatment Savita received prior to lunchtime on Wednesday was less effective than what she would have received in any of the Dublin maternity hospitals and did not meet Galway University Hospital’s own standards.

The obvious question is why Dr Peter Boylan is dismissing this litany of errors and insisting that Savita’s death is all about abortion?

See some suggestions here:


What Prof Cusask suggested Peter Boylan should read: Guidelines on Sepsis

Twitter from Stephen Cusack to the Vincent Brown Show on TV3

Twitter from Prof Cusack on the suggestion that Peter Boylan should read Guidelines on Sepsis

Who is Peter Boylan?

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