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A feminist analysis of the Neary and Halappanavar cases
Joan McCarthy

This chapter offers a feminist reading of two Irish cases that raise important ethical and legal concerns: the unnecessary peripartum hysterectomies at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in October 2012. Key to this feminist analysis is a desire to understand the mechanisms by which the voices and concerns of the women at the centre of these cases were ignored, marginalised and trivialised. The chapter addresses the cultural dis-ease with women’s bodies and reproductive autonomy and the excess of epistemic and moral authority vested in doctors and religious leaders and the correlated lack of authority invested in women patients and midwives.

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare
The Guthrie card example
Deirdre Madden

The chapter considers the ownership of newborn screening cards (also known as Guthrie cards) and the blood spots retained on them, the role of consent to the use of these cards and relevant data protection provisions which have resulted in challenges to their retention. The issues raised here also have relevance for biobanks and other existing archives of retained biological samples in hospitals and research facilities as similar questions arise in relation to those collections. The chapter recommends that legislation be introduced to exempt the newborn screening card collection from data protection legislation and to put in place a clear and robust governance framework to ensure that individual rights are protected to the greatest extent possible. These recommendations are also relevant to other collections of biological samples in which a strong argument exists for their retention for diagnostic purposes as well as for public health.

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare
Claire Murray

This chapter considers why we should care about carers and engages with different theoretical approaches to recognising the caring relationship and the implications of this for those involved in such relationships. In particular the chapter considers an approach grounded in the ethic of care and one based on relational autonomy. The chapter engages with an area of Irish health law where carers are clearly excluded from the legal framework – the mental health system. The mental health system is a useful case-study as it illustrates the complexities around balancing the interests of carers and cared for persons. The chapter concludes that it is important to care about carers, but doing so must be in a manner which continues to respect the distinct individual rights of each of the parties to the caring relationship.

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare