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Savita's husband for 'full public inquiry' into her death

Source: PTI
November 20, 2012 20:20 IST
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The husband of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died in Ireland after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy despite miscarrying, has demanded a "full public inquiry" into the circumstances surrounding her death.

Praveen Halappanavar, Savita's husband, had no faith in Ireland's Health Service Executive, said Solicitor Gerard O'Donnell, who represents the Halappanavar family.

Savita, 31, died from blood poisoning at University Hospital Galway on October 28 after doctors allegedly refused to perform an abortion stating "this is a Catholic country".

"He (Praveen) feels that anybody who is appointed by the HSE and paid for by the HSE to conduct and inquiry into his wife's death won't meet the criteria that we would advise him as lawyers of getting to the truth," O'Donnell told RTE Radio.

"Evidence won't be taken under oath, it won't be cross examined so I wouldn't be satisfied with that and neither would our client," he said.

"I think it is inappropriate that anybody who was involved should conduct an inquiry into their own actions. The HSE are very much at the centre of this and they are purporting to inquire into their own actions or the actions of their staff.. we want the evidence taken in public and people tested by way of cross examination."

Meanwhile, Praveen told The Irish Times he would request through his solicitor that John J Morrison, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology; Catherine Fleming, consultant in infectious disease and Brian Harte, consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care at the hospital, be removed from the seven-member inquiry team announced by the HSE.

"The truth needs to come out. As long as it is a fully independent inquiry so that the truth will come out. It does bother me that there are people from Galway hospital on the inquiry. I would prefer no Galway people on the inquiry. I will basically request that there be no-one from Galway on it," he said.

"The law has to change. Maybe Savita was born to change the laws here (Ireland)," said Praveen, who arrived back in Ireland from India on Sunday.

However, Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, head of the inquiry team, said it was important to have representatives from Galway University Hospital on it to allow the panel to compare the guidelines in use there with the national and international guidelines.

"The main reason to have internal people involved is not for them to give specific directions but to find out about their standard practice," said Arulkumaran, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George's Hospital, University of London.

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