Updated sepsis guidelines published

More than two years after Savita Halappanavar’s death, the Department of Health has published three new guidelines designed to help hospitals deal with sepsis in patients.

The clinical guidelines were recommended by health watchdog Hiqa following Ms Halappanavar death in October 2012.

According to the department, two of them promote safety and higher standards in maternity hospitals while the third aims to tackle sepsis in all patients, adult and children, in emergency departments and hospital wards.

Among the guidelines is an “Irish Maternity Early Warning System (IMEWS)”. The department said this is a “physiological track and trigger” system, a bedside tool developed for use in maternity care to assess basic maternal physiological parameters. It will help identify women with developing, established or deteriorating critical illness.

The guidelines were commissioned by the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC) working in partnership with the HSE Clinical Programmes, expert clinicians, regulatory bodies, etc.

Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant and miscarrying when she attended University Hospital Galway on October 21, 2012. She died a week later from a serious infection after being told doctors could not help to induce the miscarriage due to existing Irish legislation on abortion, despite the fact that Ms Halappanavar’s life was at risk.

The incident sparked outrage in Ireland and abroad.


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