Wednesday 22 November 2017

Savita's husband gets report week baby was due

Praveen Halappanavar
Praveen Halappanavar
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

The husband of tragic Savita Halappanavar received a report into the circumstances of his wife's death in the week he should have been welcoming his child into the world.

Praveen Halappanavar was given a copy of the final draft of the HSE report yesterday by his solicitor Gerard O'Donnell.

The report into the death of Savita Halappanavar, who would have been due to give birth this week, contains a number of "significant" recommendations, Mr O'Donnell said.

Mr Halappanavar took some time to read extracts of the document before opting to review the rest privately.

"I gave him a copy of the report and we went through some of it. It was very upsetting for him. He just wanted to go off and absorb it quietly and review it a few times by himself.

"It's not an easy read," said Mr O'Donnell.

Praveen will also liaise with his late wife's family in India, taking into account their wishes for any further recommendations.

"Praveen will liaise with myself on the report and then provide a synopsis to Savita's family and will then take on board any input they may have," he added.

Ms Halappanavar (31) died on October 28 last at Galway University Hospital. She was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital a week earlier suffering a miscarriage.

Her husband has maintained that she repeatedly requested a termination but this was refused because a foetal heartbeat was still present. Ms Halappanavar died from septicaemia. An earlier leaked draft report found it took three days before she was diagnosed with sepsis and hospital staff had underestimated the seriousness of her infection for too long.

The solicitor said that on first reading the report contained a number of "significant" recommendations which his client would like to see implemented immediately.

"There are a number of critical and key recommendations which are very interesting. They are what we would have expected as an absolute minimum. But a recommendation is no guarantee of implementation. We would hope that these would be put into practice as proper guidelines," Mr O'Donnell said.

None of the staff who participated in the clinical review are named in the report, which contains a number of legal references to the Constitution. It also addresses whether there was ever any chance to save the couple's unborn daughter Prasa and looks in detail at all medical evidence including whether tests for blood infection were followed up in time.

Other areas focused on include whether medical management of the case was in line with best practice, and whether doctors should have suggested a termination at an earlier stage.

The report also looks at whether the absence of legislation in the area of termination was a factor.

Mr O'Donnell said the report would make for upsetting reading for his client but insisted that Mr Halappanavar was determined to ensure that the document was "accurate and factual".

"He'd be open-minded (on the report) but his objective is to find the truth, that has always been his objective. He himself having been present with his wife throughout all of this (and) knows exactly what happened and he's hoping that will be borne out in the report. That's the first and most important objective.

"Secondly, he wants to make sure that something like this never happens again to any women in Ireland. He feels that he was treated very badly, his wife was treated badly."

Mr O'Donnell confirmed that they had secured a medical expert to review the report.

Irish Independent

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