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Savita's husband unhappy with delay in report into her death

Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 6:37pm IST | Place: London | Agency: PTI

Chairman of Health Service Executive asks him to wait till the end of January, possibly February.
  • Reuters

Praveen Halappanavar, husband of an Indian dentist who died after being denied an abortion in Ireland, is "not at all happy" with the authorities' failure to deliver a preliminary report into his wife's death before Christmas, and has been told to wait till the "end of January, possibly February."

Praveen and his solicitor Gerard O'Donnell met Minister for Health James Reilly in Athlone on Wednesday night, at the request of the Minister, according to the Irish Times.

They had been assured last month that they would receive a preliminary report "before Christmas" from the Health Service Executive (HSE) inquiry into the death of Praveen's 31-year-old wife Savita on October 28 at Galway University Hospital.

O'Donnell said when he and his client had set out for Athlone on Wednesday evening they had been expecting to receive the text of Arulkumaran's initial findings.

"We had expected to be perusing a document of some kind. Instead what we got was a sort of verbal report. Praveen indicated he was not at all happy with that and the minister took that on board. The reality is we were to receive a report and the reality is we have received nothing. We are now being told it will be the end of January, possibly February," he said.

"Under the European Convention of Human Rights, a death such as this should be investigated promptly. We did tell the minister that if there are any further delays we will put a line in the sand, and sit down with counsel about taking the case to Europe," he added.

They decided they would not take a case to Europe until the HSE inquiry had concluded.

O'Donnell said Praveen was under "a lot of strain himself and also under pressure from her (Savita's) family to get answers on this."

"I do think the minister wants to be able to give us the report. All we can do now is trust his assurances."

Savita's husband says she had asked repeatedly over a three-day period for a termination of her unviable pregnancy but was refused as there was a foetal heartbeat present and they were told "this is a Catholic country."

An autopsy carried out by Dr Grace Callagy two days later found she died of septicaemia "documented ante-mortem" and E coli ESBL.

The HSE inquiry into Savita's death was established on November 20 under the chairmanship of Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George's Hospital, University of London.

The inquiry team had initially included three staff members from Galway University Hospital although they were later removed and replaced following objections by Praveen.

Praveen has refused to participate in the HSE inquiry as it is being held in private. He and Savita's family in India are seeking a public, sworn inquiry.

A spokesman for Reilly said the minister had a private meeting with Praveen and his legal representative.

"The meeting was a private one and followed their earlier meeting [in Galway] on Friday, November 23."


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