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Watchdog to consider statutory inquiry

HEALTH watchdog HIQA is this morning considering a statutory inquiry into the death of a pregnant woman.

The Health Information and Quality Authority is expected to announce whether it will investigate Savita Halappanavar's death following calls for a second probe.

The HSE has already launched an investigation into the death but Savita's husband Praveen refused to cooperate, claiming the inquiry would be biased.

The 31-year-old died on October 28 at Galway University Hospital after she miscarried 17 weeks into her pregnancy. She suffered septicaemia.

Her husband claimed she was denied an abortion because a foetal heartbeat was present.

Mr Halappanavar called for a sworn, public inquiry that would allow for witnesses to be cross-examined.

Health Minister James Reilly said last night he was hopeful HIQA would choose to carry out its own investigation.

He said no-one could doubt the watchdog's complete independence.

Dr Reilly also insisted the HSE probe should continue and that he expected chairman of the investigation team Sabaratnam Arulkumaran to return an interim report before Christmas.

PA Media