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Savita Halappanvar's husband plans to visit India

By Aditi Khanna
April 22, 2013 17:44 IST
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The husband of Savita Halappanvar is planning to visit India to brief her parents on the next step in his legal battle to uncover the truth behind her death at an Irish hospital.

Praveen Halappanvar, the husband of the 31-year-old Indian dentist who died in an Ireland hospital following a miscarriage last October, plans to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights after an inquest into her death last week failed to offer all the answers he was searching for.

"There are still some questions that need to be answered. I haven't got my answers yet. I owe it to Savita and I owe it to Savita's parents to get all the answers and all the truth," he said in reference to the seven-day inquest which concluded at Galway Courthouse last Friday with a verdict of "medical misadventure".

The limited boundaries of an inquest had to be explained to Savita's parents -- Andaneppa and Akhamahadevi Yalagi -- who are based in Karnataka though they were given updates by Praveen's legal team from the inquest twice every day.

The inquest was told how they had caught a flight back to India from Dublin on October 23 last year, a day before Savita became seriously ill and eventually died on October 28.

It later emerged that they had been in Ireland for 85 days on a 90-day holiday visa and were worried about breaching immigration laws.

"The visa was running out and it was playing on their minds and, with Savita's assurances, they decided to return to India. It was devastating for them to learn 48 hours later that Savita was in a critical condition," a family friend told the 'Irish Independent'.

Praveen's solicitor, Gerard O'Donnell, will this week brief his legal team on taking a case on behalf of Savita and Praveen to the ECHR.

Meanwhile, the publication of a Health and Safety Executive report is also expected, a copy of which had been made available to Praveen in March.

There have been further calls to also make a linked investigation by Irish health watchdog Health Information and Quality Authority public.

The HIQA probe was conducted into "the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women, at the risk of clinical deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita

Savita was 17 weeks pregnant when admitted to University Hospital Galway on October 21. She died a week later in intensive care from multi-organ failure from septic shock and E.coli, four days after she delivered a dead foetus.

A spokesperson for the hospital has since acknowledged there were lapses in the standard of care provided to Savita.

Tony Canavan, chief operating officer of Galway Roscommon Hospital Group, promised that the deficiencies identified at the inquest would be rectified by the hospital and all recommendations would be taken on board.

The case has brought complex anti-abortion laws into focus yet again in Ireland, where the government has since pledged to allow abortion if there is a real and substantial risk to a woman's life, by introducing legislation in July.

Ireland's Minister for Health James Reilly said lessons learned from the inquest would feed into new guidelines for medical care.

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Aditi Khanna
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