A 31-year-old Indian woman died in Ireland from blood poisoning after doctors allegedly refused to perform an abortion stating "this is a Catholic country".
Irish authorities have launched a probe into the death of Savita Halappanavar, a dentist, who was 17 weeks pregnant and suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia at University Hospital Galway last month, The Irish Times reported today.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, said that she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated.
Praveen said having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Savita asked for a medical termination.
This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, "this is a Catholic country".
The dead foetus was later removed and Savita was taken to the high dependency unit and then the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia on October 28.
An autopsy carried out two days later found she died of septicaemia "documented ante-mortem" and E.coli ESBL.
A hospital spokesperson confirmed the Health Service Executive had begun an investigation while the hospital had also instigated an internal investigation.
Abortion is illegal in the Republic of Ireland.