Thursday 22 March 2018

Praveen dreading inquest as new details of Savita's tragic final days emerge

Greg Harkin

PRAVEEN Halappanavar is "absolutely dreading" an inquest today into the death of his wife Savita, his solicitor has said, as new details of her care in her final days emerged.

Mrs Halappanavar, who was 31 and pregnant, died at University College Hospital Galway last October.

Her husband has claimed that three requests for a termination of the pregnancy were turned down. Savita later died from blood poisoning.

Just one request is recorded in the draft HSE report on the dentist's death.

"Praveen is still grieving over the death of his wife," family solicitor Gerard O'Donnell told the Irish Independent last night.

"He is absolutely dreading the inquest because the final days of Savita's life will be pored over this week.

"He is particularly upset at some of the things which were contained in the draft HSE report.

"It was very difficult reading for Praveen as you can imagine and the next few days for him are going to be very tough indeed."

Among the medical notes in the draft report are references to Savita being given an extra blanket when she was shivering because the radiator in her room was not working.

The inquest will investigate whether or not her shaking was a result of infection.

Mr O'Donnell said he had "full confidence" in west Galway coroner Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, who will preside over today's hearings.

But he insisted that Mr Halappanavar's desire for a wider inquiry would not end with the conclusion of this case.

"We will see what happens but we know that no case can go before the European Court of Human Rights until all avenues here in this country have been exhausted," said Mr O'Donnell.

"But that remains Praveen's intention, to go down that route as we know that the inquest is a limited forum for investigation."

The coroner's inquest will only rule on how Savita died. The coroner is allowed to make recommendations, however.

Almost 50 witnesses have given statements. Around a third of those, including Praveen, are expected to be called to give evidence.


The Irish Independent understands that medical staff will clarify what they believe was said to Mr Halappanavar in relation to the request for a termination of Savita's 17-week pregnancy.

Mr Halappanavar has said that he was told that a termination of the pregnancy could not go ahead because Ireland was a Catholic country. However, medical staff are expected to say that this was a reference to the laws on abortion here.

Mr O'Donnell said his client believes there was an over-emphasis on the life of the foetus, diagnosed as unviable.

"It was clear from the start that the foetus was not going to survive and it is Praveen's belief that all medical care should have been directed towards his wife from that point," said Mr O'Donnell.

Irish Independent

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