THE DOC­TOR WHO TOLD THE CHURCH TO BACK OFF. . .

Irish Daily Mail - - News -

DR PETER Boy­lan, who qual­i­fied from Univer­sity Col­lege Dublin in 1974, is the cur­rent chair of the In­sti­tute of Ob­ste­tri­cians and Gy­nae­col­o­gists at the Royal Col­lege of Physi­cians of Ire­land. He was a Con­sul­tant Ob­ste­tri­cian/Gy­nae­col­o­gist in Dublin’s Na­tional Ma­ter­nity Hospi­tal be­fore re­tir­ing from his role in De­cem­ber 2016 and served as its Mas­ter from 1991 to 1998.

As chair, Dr Boy­lan is re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing all mat­ters of the in­sti­tute with the sup­port of the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil and all of the in­sti­tute’s com­mit­tees.

He rep­re­sents the in­sti­tute on the RCPI coun­cil and also on other na­tional and in­ter­na­tional bod­ies.

A Dublin na­tive, Dr Boy­lan worked in hospitals in the UK and US and has trav­elled all over the world de­liv­er­ing lec­tures.

He has been crit­i­cal of Ire­land’s re­stric­tive abor­tion laws and was an ex­pert wit­ness at the inquest into the death of Savita Halap­panavar who died from sep­tic shock in Oc­to­ber 2012, seven days af­ter en­ter­ing hospi­tal. The In­dian den­tist was 17 weeks’ preg­nant and mis­car­ry­ing when she was ad­mit­ted to Univer­sity Hospi­tal Galway.

She was told the un­born baby would not sur­vive.

As a re­sult, she asked for a ter­mi­na­tion, but was re­fused on the grounds that a foetal heart­beat was present.

At her inquest in 2013, Dr Boy­lan claimed doc­tors faced a catch-22 dilemma in try­ing to save her life.

He said women in Ire­land have ‘no in­put’ into their care, un­like other coun­tries where a ter­mi­na­tion would be of­fered dur­ing a po­ten­tially non-vi­able preg­nancy.

He also said: ‘There are no guide­lines on what the risk is, so ob­ste­tri­cians in Ire­land are work­ing in a vac­uum, and so, un­less the mother is go­ing to die, we are on very sticky ground,’ he said.

‘The real prob­lem was the in­abil­ity to ter­mi­nate prior to Ms Halap­panavar de­vel­op­ing a real or sub­stan­tive risk to her life. too ‘By late that to time, save it her was life.’ ef­fec­tively

Prior to this and fol­low­ing the pub­lic out­cry over Savita’s death, Dr Boy­lan said the sit­u­a­tion is ‘like a sword of Damo­cles’ hang­ing over med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

At an Oireach­tas hear­ing into the Pro­tec­tion Of Life Dur­ing Preg­nancy Bill 2013, he called for strong leg­is­la­tion.

‘We are left on an ad-hoc ba­sis when it comes to ter­mi­na­tion of preg­nancy in or­der to save the life of the mother,’ he said. ‘This is a wholly un­safe, and I be­lieve, un­rea­son­able sit­u­a­tion to ex­pect doc­tors to op­er­ate in.’

Dr Boy­lan also sat on the Gov­ern­ment’s ex­pert group to ad­vise on abor­tion law.

Un­der the Pro­tec­tion of Life Dur­ing wher­e­real and can Preg­nan­cythey sub­stan­tial­carry be­lieve­out Act risk abor­tion­s­there2013, to doc­tor­sis the a life threatof theof sui­cide. mother, in­clud­ing the warnedIn Au­gust­the Church 2013, to Dr stop Boy­lan­med­dling in women’s health, in re­sponse to Fr Kevin Do­ran, who sat on the board of di­rec­tors at the Mater Hospi­tal, and said the hospi­tal ‘can­not com­ply’ with the new abor­tion leg­is­la­tion. He said: ‘They need to back off and leave it to the doc­tors. It’s ab­so­lutely in­tol­er­a­ble that a hospi­tal would deny some­body life-sav­ing treat­ment in the 21st cen­tury.’ Dr Boy­lan is re­lated, through mar­riage, to the mas­ter of Holles Street Dr Rhona Ma­hony.

Mar­ried: Former Holles St mas­ter Dr Peter Boy­lan and wife Jane

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