Wednesday 23 October 2019

Savita husband's lawyers to meet head of HSE probe

MAEVE SHEEHAN

LAWYERS for Savita Halappanavar's husband will meet the head of a health service investigation this week, paving the way for publication of a long-awaited internal report on her death.

Praveen Halappanavar had postponed the meeting with Professor Sabaratnam Arulkmaran until after the inquest into Savita's death, which concluded last month that she died of medical misadventure.

His lawyer, Gerard O'Donnell and his friend, CVR Prasad, a hospital consultant, will meet Prof Arulkumaran in Galway city on Wednesday.

Mr Halappanavar decided not to attend the meeting himself.

They are expected to make detailed submissions, based on evidence that emerged over the course of the eight-day inquest in Galway last month.

After it concluded, Mr Halappanavar launched a passionate attack on her "horrendous, barbaric and inhuman" treatment at the hospital, claiming she was just left there to die.

Savita, 31, died at Galway University Hospital on October 28 last year after she miscarried her baby at 17 weeks. The inquest was told of a litany of systems failures and communications failures and how the medical team missed the early signs of blood poisoning that eventually killed her.

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The inquest heard how her requests for a termination were refused because her life was not at risk.

Prof Arulkumaran, a London-based obstetrician, was commissioned by the HSE to chair a clinical review of Savita's death.

Mr Halappanavar had initially refused to co-operate, instead calling for an independent public inquiry. He was further upset when a draft of Prof Arulkumaran's findings was leaked to the media.

The draft report found there was an over-emphasis on the welfare of the foetus and an under-emphasis on Savita's deteriorating health.

One of the issues at the meeting will focus on whether any issues have emerged between evidence given at the inquest into Savita's death and the HSE investigation.

"One of the first things is whether the chairman has reviewed the transcripts of evidence from the inquest and whether the chairman has any amendments to draft as a result," he said.

Mr O'Donnell will be accompanied to the meeting by Mr Prasad, an orthopaedic surgeon in Galway who testified at Savita's inquest.

After the inquest, he said it was "mind-boggling to all of us how a person goes in to a hospital, walking, and comes out in a box for something that was an entirely preventable death".

Irish Independent

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