Friday, August 23, 2013

Twins aborted in Ireland's National Maternity Hospital

The Irish Times reported today that doctors at Holles Street hospital carried out the country’s first abortion under the provisions of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013. It is reported that the woman was 18 weeks pregnant with twin babies and that the woman was at risk of sepsis.
This is a sad outcome for the mother in question and a sad day for Ireland. It is an indication of how this anti-life legislation will be applied.
It also raises the question of how the Catholic Church will deal with the new situation in that Holles Street has always been viewed as the National Catholic Maternity Hospital and Dublin's Archbishop Dr Diarmuid Martin is chairman of the board of governors.

The report claims that senior obstetricians at Holles Street, including master Dr Rhona Mahony, were involved in the decision and the procedure was performed under section 7 of the act which deals with the risk of loss of life of a woman from a physical condition.
The question has to be asked how would this situation have been dealt with prior to the introduction of the legislation? Was every effort made to save both the mother and her twin babies? Could treatment have continued until after viability was reached bearing in mind that pre-viable delivery is always fatal for the babies? 
The claim that the abortion was carried out under the new legislation is also questionable in that the regulations under the act have not yet been finalized and the Statutory Instrument is not listed on the website of the Department of Health and Children as having been signed by Minister Reilly. The legislation has certainly been finalised, in that the Bill was passed but may not yet have come into effect.

The Clinical Director of the National Maternity Hospital Dr Peter Boylan in an interview on RTE radio this morning deflected the questions surrounding this report by expressing outrage that patient details have been made public (see report in the
Dr Boylan also disputed whether the abortion of the twins could be labelled the first in the country.
“We don’t have access to all obstetric units in the country and I doubt if  he[the journalist] does too,” he told Morning Ireland, before refusing to answer whether it was, in fact, the first termination to be carried out at the hospital under the new laws.
Dr Boylan continued by saying that ‘patient confidentiality is at the root of this whole thing. It is absolutely unacceptable for patient details to be splashed around the front page of the newspaper, it is not fair on patients to do this. And it is completely unethical if it is a doctor giving information to the public…To give exact clinical details of a patient to a member of the press is absolutely unethical behaviour by any medical personnel. And if it is a doctor, then this sort of transgression or bad behaviour could well end up before the Medical Council.”
“Patient confidentiality is absolutely critical in our dealing with women in sensitive and difficult situations,” he continued.
“This is not the sort of behaviour you expect from a serious professional. It is completely unprofessional to give details of a patient, which allows her to be identified.