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Negligence case taken by widower of Savita is settled out of court


Praveen and Savita Halappanavar on their wedding day (Reuters)

Praveen and Savita Halappanavar on their wedding day (Reuters)

Praveen and Savita Halappanavar on their wedding day (Reuters)

A medical negligence case being taken by the widower of Savita Halappanavar has been settled out of court.

The case, which was being taken by Praveen Halappanavar against the HSE and obstetrician Katherine Astbury, was due to begin today in the High Court.

It was expected to take two to three days to hear all the facts.

However, a source has told the Herald the case was settled late last week. While details of the agreement have not been made public, it is understood the settlement is significant.

Mr Halappanavar has been living in the US for the past number of years while undertaking a mid-term project for his employers, Boston Scientific. However, he was due to return and give evidence in the case. He was not in Ireland for the latest talks.


Papers for the personal injury summons, lodged with the High Court in September 2013, stated that Ms Halappanavar’s constitutional right to life was breached.

The civil suit included over 30 of alleged negligence, including failures in the treatment given to Ms Halappanavar during her time at University Hospital Galway and a failure to terminate the pregnancy when it became clear her life was at risk.

Savita Halappanavar (31) was 17 weeks pregnant and miscarrying when she was admitted to University Hospital Galway on October 21, 2012. She died seven days later on October 28 as a result of septicaemia caused by ecoli ESBL.

Three separate investigations were carried out into the 31-year-old’s death making a total of 33 recommendations.

An inquest returned a verdict of medical misadventure. A HSE clinical review found there had been inadequate assessment and monitoring of the patient.

It added there had been “a lack of recognition of the gravity of the situation and the increasing risk to the life of the mother” among staff at the Galway hospital.

A Hiqa report identified 13 “missed opportunities” which, if acted upon, “may potentially have resulted in a different outcome for her”.

Following the investigations, the hospital group ordered a review of the actions of all staff members involved in her care. 

A total of 30 staff were involved in Ms Halappanvar’s care, it found 21 had no case to answer. Nine staff received either written warnings or were given more training. None were suspended or dismissed.