If the Health Information and Quality Authority do launch an inquiry it can do so only within the terms of Section 9 of the Health Act 2007. That Section limits HIQA inquiries to those into
“…the safety, quality and standards of services if … there is a serious risk to the health or welfare of a person receiving those services…”.
That would appear to preclude HIQA from inquiring into the death of Savita Halappanavar; there is now no risk to her health.
In fact, there are only two types of “inquiry” where the proper questions can be put to the appropriate medical practitioners; disciplinary proceedings before the Medical Council and proceedings in court in a medical negligence/malpractice suit. If the proceedings are in court, the HSE will be the defendant. (The HSE currently objects to the citation of individual medical practitioners in such proceedings, on the ground that the proceedings should be conducted on the “enterprise” principle, i.e., that the HSE is vicariously liable for the malpractice of medical practitioners and that it is invidious to focus on the practitioner by citing him/her as a defendant).
The questions set out below are relevant questions for any effective inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar . A HIQA inquiry cannot ask those questions, and if it did, the medical practitioner need not reply.
Consequently, HIQA aervices or functions are redundant in relation to Savita Halappanavar.
1. Identify and describe the appearance of each and every person who was present in the vicinity of Savita Halappanavar on the occasion of each of the alleged occurrences being the alleged failure to provide appropriate medical care and relief, giving the name, address and occupation of each such person and stating your relationship to each.
2. Describe in detail all aspects of your professional medical relationship with Savita Halappanavar, indicating the date of commencement, the nature and extent of your medical relationship prior to the alleged occurrences, and the date and circumstances of the termination of your professional medical relationship.
3. In reference to the condition of Savita Halappanavar, her pregnancy and death, that forms the basis of the complaint, set forth:
(a) the date(s) and circumstances under which you saw Savita Halappanavar ;
(b) any and all medical history given to you;
(c) the examination(s) conducted of Savita Halappanavar;
(d) your findings on each examination;
(e) your prognosis and diagnosis following each examination; and
(f) any treatment or medication prescribed or requested.
4. Attach your Curriculum Vitae or describe in detail your education, training, experience, published materials, service on boards and committees, continuing education and certifications, prior work and hospital affiliations, licenses and specialties.
5. Have your full rights or privileges to practice medicine been suspended, revoked or terminated in any state or hospital since you started to practice medicine? If the answer to this question is in the affirmative, state:
(a) the reason why your full rights or privileges to practice medicine or any hospital association were suspended, revoked or terminated; and
(b) the name of the state or hospital that suspended, revoked or terminated your full rights or privileges to practice medicine.
6. If you have ever been a defendant in a medical negligence/malpractice claim other than the present one, identify the case by name, court and record number, and summarize the allegations against you and the outcome of the case, including the terms of any settlement.
7. Attach a complete copy of any written records or documents that you have regarding Savita Halappanavar , along with a typed transcription of any handwritten records and documents.
8. Attach a copy of all documents that Savita Halappanavar signed consenting to any treatment or procedures performed or prescribed by you, as well as a copy of any literature, material, pamphlets, instructions or other information or documents that you supplied to Savita Halappanavar.
9. List all risks that you described to Savita Halappanavar with respect to any treatment or procedures you prescribed or performed.
10. If you contend that Savita Halappanavar’s injuries were caused in whole or in part by an inherent defect in a drug, instrument, implement or other type of product or substance, identify each such allegedly defective item, including in your identification: (a) a complete description of its appearance, and appearance of its container or wrapper, if any;
(b) the name and address of its manufacturer;
(c) the name and address of the dealer or seller who sold it to the person who owned it at the time of the alleged occurrence;
(d) the name, occupation, title, address and professional relationship to you of the person who owned it at the time of the occurrence;
(e) a description of the use to which it is normally put;
(f) its serial number, batch number or other specific identifying characteristics; and
(g) the medical name for this product and a lay description of it and its use.
11. If there were any reviews performed, including investigations undertaken, hearings held or reports prepared, by the hospital, its medical staff or any officer, committee or agency of the hospital or any public body or other person or persons concerning the condition that forms the basis of the complaint, state:
(a) the name and position of the person, persons or committee that performed the review;
(b) the date and time of each review;
(c) the name, address, profession or professional relationship to you of all persons present at each review;
(d) the nature and purpose of each review;
(e) whether the review was recorded; and
(f) the name and address of each person who has any records concerning each review.
12. Did you refer to or rely upon any medical texts or publications or ethical guidelines in connection with the diagnosis or treatment of Savita Halappanavar? If so, identify those items by title, author and publisher.
13. If you intend to rely on or use in any way in any inquiry or trial any treatise, identify the treatise by title, author and edition and indicate the pertinent portions to be relied on or used at inquiry or trial.
14. If you claim that the alleged occurrence resulted from Savita Halappanavar’s own lack of care, set forth as fully and specifically as you can what acts, conduct or omissions constituted such lack of due care.
15. State the names and addresses of all consultants or other physicians who saw, examined and treated Savita Halappanavar at your request for the condition forming the basis of the complaint, and in relation to all such consultations or examinations by other physicians indicate:
(a) the reason you requested consultations or further examination;
(b) when the consultation or examination took place; and
(c) all opinions or reports rendered to you by the consultant or examining physician.
16. Savita Halappanavar’s spouse in the complaint, alleges that while under your care, she died. In relation to such outcome, indicate in your opinion the cause of that outcome.