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Statement by Mr Tony Canavan, Chief Operating Officer for the Galway and Roscommon University Hospitals Group speaking on behalf of University Hospital Galway

I think anyone following the inquest proceedings will have appreciated that the untimely death of Ms Halappanavar caused deep upset among hospital staff, particularly those who were directly involved in her care and who came to give evidence to the Coroner. Our senior counsel has thanked the Coroner and I would like to add our thanks to him and his team, and the Gardaí who collected the depositions on his behalf, for their courtesy and understanding.
This was the first direct maternal death at the hospital in 17 years.  From the very beginning, we have followed all of the legal and medical requirements. While it has been difficult to have our practices and services in the spotlight, we know that this type of public accountability and scrutiny ultimately helps to improve the way care is delivered. Sadly, there were lapses in our standards of care but I am sure people appreciate that we always try to do the best for our patients. As the inquest has starkly demonstrated, complex medical situations unfold, often very quickly, in real time.
We will take on board the Coroner’s recommendations to ensure that deficiencies will be rectified by the hospital. We owe this to all of our patients and to our staff to ensure that they are in environment that operates to the highest standards.
I would like to reassure all concerned that we have already introduced a range of improvements, including:

  • The implementation of early warning scoring systems;
  • The education of all staff in the recognition, monitoring and management of sepsis and septic shock; and
  • The introduction of a new multi-disciplinary team-based training programme in the management of obstetric emergencies, including sepsis.

We have also improved our communications processes and will be implementing new procedures for doctors’ handovers.
In addition to taking on board the coroner’s recommendations we will promptly act on all of the recommendations arising from report of the HSE-appointed investigation team and from the HIQA report.
In conclusion, we wish to again offer our sincere sympathy to Mr Halappanavar, to his family and his wife’s family, and to their many friends in Ireland and in India.
Thank you.
Tony Canavan
On behalf of University Hospital Galway