Saturday 18 January 2020

International expert for Savita death inquiry team

From right: Andaneppa Yalagi (father), Akkamahadevi (mother), Dr Savita Halappanavar (victim), Praveen Halappanavar (Husband), Santosh Yalagi (brother), Sanjeev Yalagi (brother) wedding photo.
The young couple were married in 2008 in Belgaum.
A woman walks past posters advertising a candlelit vigil at the University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland November 15, 2012. Ireland's government on Thursday pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in an Irish hospital. Thousands held a candle-lit vigil outside parliament on Wednesday after news broke of the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian Hindu, following a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy. Activists in Ireland, an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country which has some of the world's most restrictive laws on abortion, say a lack of legal clarity about when termination's are justified may have contributed to her death.REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton (IRELAND - Tags: HEALTH POLITICS)
Mahadevi (L) and Andanappa Yalagi, parents of Savita Halappanavar, hold her portrait as they pose for a picture at their house in Belgaum in the southern Indian state of Karnataka November 16, 2012. Ireland's government pledged on Thursday to clarify its abortion laws after Halappanavar, who was refused a termination, died from blood poisoning in an Irish hospital. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui (INDIA - Tags: HEALTH POLITICS)
Savita's father with her wedding album
Savita's father holds her portrait in his home in Belgaum in the southern Indian state of Karnataka
Andanappa Yalagi, left, father of Savita Halappanavar, is helped by a family friend as he hangs her portrait at his home in Belgaum
A condolence notice for Savita Halappanavar posted on the notice board of the dental college she attended in Belgaum in the southern Indian state of Karnataka
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

An international expert in obstetrics and gynaecology will be appointed to the inquiry team investigating the death of Savita Halappanavar.

The inquiry will be headed by the Health Service Executive’s director of patient safety, Dr Philip Crowley, and has also identified an international expert to join the team.

The full membership will involve a range of experts with different medical specialties who will be able to examine the range of care which Savita received.

Once the inquiry team is finalised, it will confirm the terms of reference for the inquiry.

The family of Savita will be consulted on the terms of reference of the inquiry into her tragic death.

The HSE said it is expected that both the team and terms of reference will be ready in a matter of days with Savita’s next of kin involved in the process.

Earlier her husband said he was considering suing over her death in a Galway hospital.

Praveen Halappanavar said he would wait for the results of an investigation before making his decision.

"I am still in shock," he said.

Savita’s parents also added their voice to the growing international storm over regulations governing terminations in Ireland.

Amid growing pressure on the Government, Praveen (34), an engineer with Boston Scientific in Galway, praised the support he has received "from all over".

"My main objective is that they should change the law. I know Savita won't come back but I hope that she will rest in peace, you know, if they change the law," Mr Halappanavar said.

Mrs Halappanavar (31), originally from Belgaum in India, died from septicaemia a week after she began to miscarry and asked for a termination at University College Hospital in Galway.

Speaking from her home, her mother Akkamahadevi and her husband Andaneppa Sangappa Yalagi have been highly critical of the regulations.

"The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians," her mother said.

Her husband said he was looking forward to seeing the outcome of the internal hospital investigation and HSE inquiry.

"We are all curious really about what exactly went wrong and then maybe looking at putting some pressure to change the regulations," he said.

Mrs Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she arrived at the hospital on October 21 complaining of back pain. The couple were informed the baby she was expecting would not survive.

However, it was only on Wednesday, October 24, that the foetal heartbeat stopped and the foetus was removed.

Mrs Halappanavar's condition deteriorated and she died from septicaemia at 1.10am on Sunday, October 28.

Her husband recalled that she asked medics to carry out a medical abortion or induce her but were told it was a Catholic country and against regulations.

"They never mentioned anything about a risk to Savita until she was taken to ICU, all they ever focused on was the baby," her husband said.

"Basically everyone back home here (in India), her family and friends, everyone can't believe it in the 21st Century in a country like Ireland.

"The question they keep asking is why did they not straight away terminate her the minute they came to know that the baby won't survive. That is the question I have been asked again and again and again. I don't have the answer so they have to change that."

Mr Halappanavar also revealed she had planned to call her baby girl 'Prasa'.

One of her two brothers, Sanjeev Yalagi (32), a software engineer, spoke of his sister.

"She was a wonderful person. I'm saying this not just because she was my sister. She was a very wonderful person, she deserved to live," he said.

Her brother told how the family had believed Ireland would have more sophisticated medical treatment.

And he added that no one had contemplated such a scenario. "My sister had a belief it was a safe place to have a baby but it is very unfortunate. We believe even underdeveloped countries are more safe than Ireland."

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