• 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.

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    Video with thanks to Paula Geraghty of Trade Union TV.
    THE MINISTER FOR Health James Reilly has recognised the need for a transparent, independent inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar at Galway University Hospital – but added that the process needed to be expedited in order to ensure no further risk is posed to women being treated at the facility.

    Responding to questions put to him at the Joint Committee on Health and Children this evening, Reilly said that ‘justice not only needed to be done, but needed to be seen to be done’.

    “This is a very difficult and traumatic time for the family of Savita Halappanavar and I know that it’s going to be very difficult for them in relation to whole procedure,” he said.  However, he added that he had a “duty of care” to women across the country to expedite the process so that if any further risks at the hospital remain they can be addressed.

    Full article here

    Group to be made up of 'entirely independent' representatives

    The Taoiseach says the 3 doctors from University Hospital Galway who were to sit on an inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar will not now do so. 

    It comes after the husband of the 31-year-old declared he would not co-operate with the inquiry because of the inclusion of the doctors on the team. 

    This afternoon Enda Kenny told the Dáil that Health Minister James Reilly had instructed the inquiry be made up of people with no association with the hospital. 

    These were Prof. John J. Morrison, Dr. Catherine Fleming and Dr. Brian Harte.

    All hold various posts at the hospital where Mrs. Halappanavar died last month.

    Full article here

    SAVITA Halappanavar's husband Praveen will try to block a HSE inquiry into her death by refusing to release her medical records.

    Praveen Halappanavar, whose wife died after suffering a miscarriage and being refused an abortion, has called for an independent public inquiry into her death and says he has no faith in the HSE process.

    Mr Halappanavar will not consent to have Savita's records examined by the investigation team, his lawyer said.

    His solicitor Gerard O'Donnell announced the widower has no faith in the state's Health Service Executive (HSE), which appointed a team to review the case.

    "I just don't know how the HSE will conduct an inquiry without his consent," said Mr O'Donnell.

    "They will have to look at her records and we haven't given any consent to Savita's records being looked at."

    However, it is understood the HSE inquiry will be able to review the records without Mr Halappanavar's permission.

    Mr Halappanavar criticised the HSE probe, launched yesterday, because the team includes three employees of Galway University Hospital where his 31-year-old wife died on October 28.


    The Health Service Executive has appointed Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran as chairman of the investigative team that will review the death of Savita Halappanavar.

    He was chosen as an independent expert in obstetrics and gynaecology, and is internationally renowned in his field.
    Sir Arulkumaran is professor and head of obstetrics and gynaecology and deputy head of clinical sciences at St George's University of London.

    He is also the president of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology - the global body dedicated to improving women and newborns' quality of life.

    The internationally-respected professor has been in clinical practice for nearly 40 years and has also been involved in research and teaching for more than 25 years.

    His main area of research involves foetal monitoring, intrapartum care, high-risk pregnancy, obstetric litigation and safety in maternity care.


    Medics involved in the care of a pregnant Indian woman who died after suffering a miscarriage will be interviewed over the next three days, health chiefs have revealed.

    A seven-strong team, headed by professor of obstetrics and gynaecology Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, will examine case notes and medical guidelines to establish whether she received the best possible care.
    Savita Halappanavar, 31, died on October 28 after contracting septicaemia. Her husband has claimed she was denied an abortion as she miscarried 17 weeks into her pregnancy.

    The Health Service Executive (HSE) said no overall timeframe has been set for the completion of a report, which will be sent to HSE national director of quality and patient safety Philip Crowley.

    "We will obviously interview all the members of the local team who were involved in the care and clearly analyse every step of Mrs Halappanavar's care to ensure that we uncover the root causes of her untimely death," Dr Crowley said.

    Full article here

    THREE doctors from University Hospital Galway are part of the investigation team assembled to inquire into the death.

    The chairman of the inquiry has defended their positions, saying they needed to inform the team about their standards of practice in treating patients at the hospital.

    Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, an eminent obstetrician of 40 years experience who practises at St George's hospital, University of London, was unveiled as chairman. [...]

    Mr Arulkumaran said the main reason to have three Galway hospital doctors involved is not for them to give specific directions, but to inform the team about their standards of practice in treating patients.

    He said this would include whether "they have standard guidelines in the hospital, and if they have deviations why do they do so".

    For example the type of antibiotics given to patients can vary from hospital to hospital.

    Full article here

    The HSE has announced the details surrounding the upcoming investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar.

    Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, an independent expert in obstetrics and gynaecology, will chair the Investigation Team into her death.

    He is a Professor and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Deputy Head of Clinical Sciences at St George’s University of London, as well as President of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

    The Investigation Team comprises a number of experts in the relevant disciplines; including anaesthesia, midwifery, obstetrics and gynaecology, to review the full range of clinical care provided to Ms Halappanavar. The team also includes an independent patient representative.

    The HSE’s National Incident Management Team (NIMT) will oversee and support the investigation into the circumstances of Ms Halappanavar’s tragic death.

    Full article here

    Sadness at the death of Savita Halappanavar emanated from a candle-lit vigil held in her memory in Galway at the weekend.

    There was also outrage among the estimated 1,000 people who turned out in cold weather to remember the woman who had moved from India with her husband to set up home in Galway a few years ago.

    “It was just barbaric what happened. It was outrageous, the very fact that it happened here in Galway makes it all the more so,” said Phil Mason from Galway.

    “I had my kids in Galway: it could have been me; it could have been any of my neighbours; it could have been anybody; it just shouldn’t have happened,” she added.

    Full article here