International expert led HSE inquiry into tragedy

EXTRACTS from the HSE inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar at University College Hospital Galway last October are taken from a draft HSE report.

The Health Service Executive appointed Sabaratnam Arulkumaran as chairman of the investigative team that carried out the review of the death.

He was chosen as an independent expert in obstetrics and gynaecology, and is internationally renowned in his field.

Despite repeated requests Praveen chose not to meet with either the HSE inquiry or a second probe set up by the patient safety body HIQA.

Last November the inquiry was thrown into turmoil after the HSE named three Galway hospital consultants on the inquiry panel.

Mr Halappanavar objected to the inclusion on the panel of three employees of the hospital and within 24 hours they were dropped amid concerns of a conflict of interest.

Mr Halappanavar also called for a public inquiry into his wife's death, saying he has "no confidence" in a HSE-sponsored investigation.

The report of HSE's probe into Savita's death is expected to be published at the end of the month, following which a further coroner's hearing is due to take place in April.

The HIQA review of the Halappanavar case and the circumstances surrounding is not expected to report for a number of months.

The investigation team is made up of a number of medical professionals with expertise in disciplines such as anaesthesia, midwifery, obstetrics and gynaecology.

Inquiry chief Sabaratnam Arulkumaran is professor and head of obstetrics and gynaecology and deputy head of Clinical Sciences at St George's University of London.

The respected professor is also president of the International Federation of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

The seven-person team also includes senior HSE official Cora McCaughan and Ms Cathriona Molloy, Service User Advocate with Patient Focus.

The HSE's National Incident Management Team (NIMT) has been overseeing the investigation.