Wednesday 17 January 2018

Savita is giving me strength to fight for justice, says Praveen

Praveen Halappanavar arrives at Galway Coroners Court for the inquest into the death of his wife Savita Halappanavar. Photo: PA
Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she died after suffering a miscarriage and suspected septicaemia
Praveen Halappanavar's solicitor Gerard O'Donnell arrives arrives at Galway Coroners Court. Photo: PA
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

THE husband of Savita Halappanavar today revealed how his wife is giving him the strength to continue his fight for justice.

Speaking after the opening of her inquest today, Praveen Halappanavar (34) admitted that he had been on a "tough journey" since the death of his wife last October.

But he added that support from friends and work colleagues was helping him cope.

"It has been a tough journey, all the media attention. Basically everyone knows me now. There has been huge public support both from friends and colleagues at work so it has been some kind of a boost. It gives me the strength to look for the truth," he said.

Savita Halappanavar (31) died in hospital on October 28 last year from suspected septicaemia.

Her husband claimed that doctors at Galway University Hospital refused to carry out an abortion 17 weeks into her pregnancy because a foetal heartbeat was present.

Savita’s story sparked international coverage, massive vigils, and reignited the debate on abortion in Ireland.

The Boston Scientific worker said he never imagined that he would find himself in this position but added that it was the memory of his wife that kept him going.

"It is not easy to sit there in the court to see all the proceedings. I believe I am getting that strength from somewhere so I can look forward. Of course I believe it is coming from Savita, she was that kind of a person. She was always there for me so I hope I am getting that strength from her," he explained.

A date for the full inquest was today set for April 8 and is expected to last for one week at Galway courthouse.

The court heard that statement have been furnished by 48 witnesses with outstanding statement from eight further witnesses to be made available within a week. An issue arose with a further two witnesses who have not furnished statements and have provided confidential information to the Coroner as to why. Dr MacLaughlin said he was quite satisfied with the explanation.

Dr MacLaughlin revealed that he intends to call five expert witnesses including a consultant pathologist who was an expert on placenta pathology.

The coroner said the cost of five specialist independent witnesses - including the former master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr Peter Boylan - would be paid for by the local authority, Galway City Council.

He urged all sides involved in the hearing to respect the functions of the court after medical records stating that Mrs Halappanavar had requested an abortion were leaked last night.

The family's legal team had previously said that medical notes they had seen did not record the request for a termination.

Dr MacLoughlin offered his condolences to Mr Halappanavar and said he would carry out the inquiry with dignity and respect "his beloved Savita".

"It is my duty as coroner to ensure that the inquiry shall be independent, effective and prompt - that the procedures are open, transparent and accountable and are subject to public scrutiny," Dr MacLoughlin said.

Heading into court this morning, Praveen’s solicitor Gerard O'Donnell said he hoped the inquest would deliver the answers the Halappanavar family are seeking.

"My client has always sought the truth about what happened to his wife whilst in the care of the State so he is very anxious that this inquest should proceed and as soon as possible," he said.

Mr Halappanavar has refused to co-operate with separate investigations by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) and an internal HSE inquiry.

But he insisted he had faith in the coroner's court and will make a decision on whether to take the Government to the European courts in pursuit of a public inquiry after the hearing.

Two of its investigation team, Hiqa's Mary Dunnion and Emily McLoughlin, were at the inquest opening.

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News