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I knew she wasn't going to make it, friend tells inquest

A SURGEON and close friend of the Halappanavars said he didn't believe Praveen Halappanavar when he told him about the refusal of staff at the University College Hospital Galway to carry out a termination of Savita's pregnancy.

Orthopedic consultant Chalikonda Prasad told the hearing yesterday that he had been friends with Praveen and Savita Halappanavar for a number of years.

He had gone to the hospital after hearing that Mrs Halappanavar's condition had worsened. When he held her hand, it was 'rock solid'. She was bloated and he knew she wasn't going to make it, he said.

He recalled talking to Mr Halappanavar about his wife's care.

"I asked Praveen what happened and why they hadn't terminated the pregnancy and Praveen said he had been told it was because this is a Catholic country," said Mr Prasad.

"I didn't believe that. I didn't want to say it to him (Praveen) at the time but it didn't make sense. He kept saying it was a Catholic country and that it was illegal to terminate the pregnancy. He kept saying this a few times."

Mr Prasad said he didn't believe Praveen because he didn't believe it to be true and had discussed the guidelines with medical colleagues.

Coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin then provided the legal representatives with the relevant Medical Council guidelines, confirming to HSE barrister Declan Buckley that he would be calling expert witnesses to discuss the guidelines.

Earlier, the coroner asked Mr Halappanavar if he had wanted something "to expedite the process of the miscarrying of the baby."

Mr Halappanavar replied: "That's correct."

Dr McLoughlin also asked Mr Halappanavar if he was cold in the room on the Tuesday when his wife's teeth were clattering.

Mr Halappanavar said: "Not really. They gave me a blanket too but I wasn't cold."

The coroner also asked Mr Halappanavar if he had been told by a member of medical staff that they would have to wait two days for results of blood tests – Mr Halappanavar insisted this is what he was told.

The hearing continues.

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