• Praveen Halappanavar, 34, pens heart-wrenching diary of days leading to death of wife Savita, 31
  • Savita died in hospital in Galway, Ireland, after surgeons didn't remove her miscarrying baby
  • They told her it wasn't possible in Catholic country

    Two months ago Savita and Praveen Halappanavar were looking forward to the birth of their first baby.

    Praveen, 34, an engineer at a firm that makes medical equipment, and dentist Savita, 31, lived in Galway city, Ireland, moving there from India after marrying. 

    When Savita was 17 weeks pregnant she was admitted to University hospital in Galway with back pain - and told she was miscarrying.


    Her repeated requests for a termination were refused on the grounds that Ireland 'is a Catholic country'.

    A week after arriving in hospital, she died holding Praveen's hand. Her death sparked an international storm, with calls for Ireland to immediately change its abortion laws. 

    Here Praveen chronicles his wife's heartbreaking story, from her first scan to her tragic death . . .

    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19: We're thrilled to see the baby on the screen Savita and I have been waiting weeks for our first scan. When we finally see it, we couldn't be more happy. 

    When she became pregnant over the summer, we were over the moon. We are told the baby is 'absolutely fine' and given a due date of March 30.

    Early on, we decided not to find out if it was a boy or a girl, we really want it to be a surprise. Secretly though, Savita is wishing for a girl.

    As we drive home, she and I excitedly plan the next few months. She shares the news with her parents who are visiting us from India for a few weeks. They are delighted: this baby is going to be their first grandchild.

    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20: We spend a lovely day celebrating with friends. That evening Savita's mum cooks us an Indian meal and we chat happily. 

    After watching television, we go to bed at 10pm. Savita is tired after a long but very pleasant day.

    Read full article by 

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    SECOND OPINION: At last women who give birth in Irish hospitals may have at least one of their human rights respected and vindicated. The Report of the Expert group on the Judgment in A, B and C v Ireland says that legislation to regulate access to lawful termination of pregnancy in Ireland is “constitutionally, legally and procedurally sound”.

    The State must “provide effective and accessible procedures to establish a woman’s right to an abortion as well as access to such treatment”.

    Maternal mortality rates are often quoted by anti-abortion campaigners to show that new legislation is not needed because Ireland’s maternity services are among the best in the world. These rates are meaningless when used to support an anti-abortion stance.

    A 2012 analysis of maternal mortality in European perinatal health surveillance systems, including Ireland, shows that current data are insufficient for comparison between countries, because the tiny numbers and statistical variability from year to year are difficult to interpret.

    Read full article by JACKY JONES here
     
     
    The Health Information and Quality Authority may have to establish a further investigation into how pregnant women who are getting increasingly ill are cared for in Irish hospitals, following its inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar.

    The authority, which this afternoon published the terms of reference for its investigation into the death of the 31 year-old pregnant woman at Galway University Hospital last month, said if it emerged that there may be “serious risks” to any other woman in a similar situation in the future, it may recommend “further investigation or ..a new [one] “.

    Full article by Kitty Holland here

     
     
    The commitment by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that Fine Gael will impose the whip to ensure the passage of legislation covering abortion in limited circumstances is a clear signal that there will not be any serious conflict between the Coalition parties on the issue.

    Kenny’s comments yesterday reflect the broad consensus in both Government parties about the need to deal clearly and decisively with the abortion issue in the light of the European Court of Human Rights judgment and the death of Savita Halappanavar in Galway University Hospital.

    The vast majority of TDs from both parties have been guarded in their comments since the Savita case. They were determined not to say anything to inflame the situation as they feared being dragged back into the kind of bitterness that characterised debate on the abortion issue in previous decades.

    Full article by Stephen Collins here

     
     
    The husband of Savita Halappanavar is considering lodging a complaint to the Ombudsman to assert his ownership of his wife’s medical notes, his solicitor has said.

    Gerard O’Donnell said he had taken instructions from Praveen Halappanavar to seek direction from the Ombudsman on whether he or Galway University Hospital owns her medical records.

    Mr Halappanavar has objected to the use of his wife’s notes in a HSE inquiry into her death. He has said he has no faith in a HSE-run inquiry and does not want her notes used in it.

    Mr O’Donnell had asked that the hospital, where Ms Halappanavar died last month, hand over the original medical notes. However, the HSE has said it owns them.

    A spokesman for the Ombudsman said last night it was unlikely her office would have a role in this dispute.

    Mr Halappanavar met Minister for Health James Reilly for 25 minutes yesterday in Galway.

    Ms Halappanavar died on October 28th, having presented a week earlier at the hospital with back pain. She had been 17 weeks pregnant and had been found to be miscarrying. Mr Halappanavar says she asked repeatedly for a termination and this was refused as the foetal heartbeat was present.

    The Health Information and Quality Authority will publish the terms of reference of its inquiry into her death next week.

    The investigation, for which no time span is indicated, will make use of outside expertise, a spokesman indicated.

    In a statement, the authority said it would investigate the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE at Galway University Hospital to “critically ill patients, including critically ill pregnant women, as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar”.

    Mr Halappanavar said after yesterday’s meeting with Mr Reilly that he was pleased to finally meet a Government representative four weeks after his wife’s death. He said he stressed to the Minister that he did not believe the HSE or Hiqa investigations would be far-reaching enough. “I’m just glad that we met and he just passed on his condolences to the family,” said Mr Halappanavar.

    Mr O’Donnell said his client was prepared to go to the European Court of Human Rights if an independent public inquiry was not set up. Galway University Hospital last night confirmed it would co-operate fully with the Hiqa inquiry.

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    TIMELINE: This is the story of one woman’s death in an Irish hospital, based on the account given by her husband and friends

    Savita Halappanavar was admitted to Galway University Hospital with back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant. Seven days later she was dead. The hospital has said it cannot comment on individual cases and in relation to Ms Halappanavar, it must await the outcome of official investigations.

    October 20th 

    It’s a Saturday night, and Savita Halappanavar (31) and her husband Praveen (34) are holding a small get-together at their home in the Roscam area of Galway. It’s both a farewell dinner for her parents who are returning to India soon and an opportunity to announce to friends they are expecting a baby. Savita is 17 weeks pregnant. “Savita was very excited, very happy,” recalls Praveen. “All our close friends came to congratulate us.”

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    Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has not ruled out a public inquiry into the death of pregnant Indian woman Savita Halappanavar.

    Mr Gilmore said the priority was getting to the bottom of the 31-year-old dentist’s death after a miscarriage. “I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Mr Gilmore said.

    His comments follow the announcement of a second investigation into her death – a statutory review by the Health Information and Quality Authority. The terms of reference for this inquiry will be published next week.

    Minister for Health Dr James Reilly is considering continued requests for an open inquiry. He met Praveen Halappanavar, husband of the late Savita Halappanavar, in Galway for 25-minutes today in the company of his solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell.

    Speaking afterwards Mr O’Donnell described their talks as “positive”. The meeting was sought by the Department of Health.

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    THE husband of Savita Halappanavar has repeated his insistence that he will not meet the chairman of an inquiry into his wife’s death following a miscarriage.

    Praveen Halappanavar said in an interview to be broadcast tonight on RTE's Prime Time that he would not co-operate with an HSE-run inquiry.

    "We are just not confident in the whole family about the HSE leading this investigation," he said.

    "These people are salaried by the HSE. They pay them. We think that there would be some kind of bias during the investigation.

    "We are requesting a public inquiry basically funded by the Irish Government."

     
     
    THE eminent UK obstetrician chairing the inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar co-authored a report which called on countries with restrictive abortion laws to look at more liberal regimes.
     
     
    VINCENT BROWNE

    How anybody thought an investigation panel into the death of a person in a hospital controlled by the Health Service Executive could include medics from that hospital and a representative of the HSE itself would be beyond belief were it not devised by the hapless James Reilly.

    So too is the absence of any clear legal basis for investigation, made worse by the absence of legal expertise on the panel.

    A commission of investigation such as that constituted under Judge Yvonne Murphy to inquire into child abuse in the Dublin archdiocese should have been instituted. Such an inquiry, limited to the circumstances surrounding the death of Savita Halappanavar, would be brief, inexpensive, conclusive and credible.

    If, following yesterday’s removal of the University Hospital Galway consultants from the panel, another cobbled-together panel proceeds, there are likely to be legal challenges, complaints about procedures, refusals to co-operate and, finally, a report (if the process does not collapse) that will have limited, if any, authority.

    Whatever the Government does on legislation or otherwise on the X case judgment is also likely to be a fiasco, because the complexity of the issues to be addressed are such, largely because of difficulties with the Supreme Court’s judgment in the X case (if a possible suicide is a justification for abortion, then how is a possible death from other causes not a justification?).

    And that complexity arises, in the first instance, from the terms of the 1983 abortion amendment. The case for amending this amendment is now compelling and this will require the Irish people to reconsider their mindset on abortion.