'My wife is giving me the strength to seek the truth': Husband of Irish mother who died after suffering miscarriage demands answers at inquest
Savita Halappanavar died of blood poisoning after an abortion was refusedHusband Praveen today: 'It's not easy to sit there in the court'
Medical records stating that Mrs Halappanavar had requested an abortion were leaked last night
The hearing, which is expected to last more than a week, will begin on April 8 at Galway Courthouse
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Death: Savita Halappanavar died in hospital on October 28 last year from suspected septicaemia
The husband of an Indian dentist who died after she suffered a miscarriage in Ireland said his late wife is giving him the strength to fight for the truth.
Savita Halappanavar died in hospital on October 28 last year from suspected septicaemia.
The 31-year-old's husband, Praveen, said after her inquest was opened: 'It's not easy to sit there in the court to see all the proceedings.
'I believe I'm getting that strength from somewhere to look forward.
'I suppose I believe it is coming from Savita. She was that type of a person. She was always there for me so I'm getting the strength from that.'
He claims that doctors at Galway University Hospital refused to carry out
an abortion 17 weeks into her pregnancy because a foetal heartbeat was
He says they were told Ireland 'is a Catholic country'.
As the inquest into Mrs Halappanava's death today, the Coroner for Galway city, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, promised her husband that her inquest will be transparent and open to public scrutiny.
He offered his condolences to Mr Halappanavar and vowed to conduct the hearing with solemn respect, dignity and courtesy to him and to the memory of his 'beloved Savita'.
Dr MacLoughlin said: 'It is my duty as coroner to ensure that the inquiry shall be independent, effective and prompt – that the procedures are open, transparent and accountable and are subject to public scrutiny.'
He also added that her next of kin would be involved to an appropriate extent.
He urged all sides involved in the hearing to respect the functions of the court after medical records stating that Mrs Halappanavar had requested an abortion were leaked last night.
The family's legal team had previously said that medical notes they had seen did not record the request for a termination.
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Promises: Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita Halappanavar outside Galway Coroners court today. He said he was getting strength from his wife. 'I'm getting strength from that'
Grieving husband: Pictured on their wedding day, Mrs Halappanavar's husband Praveen Halappanavar begged doctors at Galway University Hospital to terminate the pregnancy after she began miscarrying and now refuses to assist investigators
The hearing, which is expected to last more than a week, will begin on April 8 at Galway Courthouse.
Dr MacLoughlin was told 48 statements have already been furnished by health chiefs and gardai, with six more to be ready within a week.
However, John O'Donnell, junior counsel for Mr Halappanavar, raised concerns about two more witnesses who have not, and may not, be able to assist the inquest due to personal difficulties.
The pair, who had written in the patient's hospital records, have been unable to give statements for confidential reasons which were recognised and accepted by the coroner.
Speaking about his wife's final moments, last month,
Mr Halappanavar said: ‘In the night, at around one o'clock, the nurse
came running, as I was standing outside ICU.
‘She just told me to be brave, and she took me near Savita, and she said: “Will you be ok to be there, living her last minutes
‘I said: “Yes, I want to”. I was holding
her hand, they were trying to pump her heart, there was a big team
around. The doctor just told me they lost her.’
Devastated: Praveen Halappanavar (pictured with his wife Savita at their home in Galway) says he watched helplessly as she died from blood poisoning from a miscarriage after doctors refused to perform an abortion
Mr Halappanavar, who works as an
engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, came to Ireland from India with
his wife four years ago to start a new life together.
She had a job in
Westport, Co Mayo and the pair lived in Galway city.
They were so excited about the expected
birth of their first child, which was due on March 20, that they had an
early baby shower in recent weeks when Mrs Halappanavar’s parents were
But their world began to fall apart,
when Mrs Halappanavar’s back pain worsened and she was forced to seek
medical help at University Hospital Galway on the morning of Sunday
After routine tests the young mother-to-be was told everything was fine and the couple were sent home.
But within an hour of returning, Mrs Halappanavar was positive something was wrong after using the bathroom.
Refused begging: Doctors at Galway University Hospital (pictured) refused Mrs Halappanavar refused an abortion because she was 'in a Catholic country' and the foetus's heartbeat was still present
‘She was in tears, she was in shock,’ said Mr Halappanavar. ‘So immediately we rushed back to the hospital.’
After similar tests again showed up nothing unusual, Mrs Halappanavar asked to be seen by a doctor.
Following a more in-depth examination,
she was told around noon that there had been a cervical dilation and the
medics would not be able to save the baby.
The pair were told it would all be over
in four to five hours, and then the dentist could go home. But she
remained in agony and two days later her health began to sharply
Happy couple: Savita and her husband Praveen dancing at 2010 Diwali festival in Galway, video from YouTube
‘On Tuesday night, things really started
getting worse… All of a sudden Savita started feeling cold, she
started shivering terribly,’ said Mr Halappanavar.
She was taken into the hospital's high dependency unit before being transferred to intensive care.
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Tribute: People light candles in Galway after the 31-year-old's death
Campaigning for change: Thousands took to the streets of Dublin to pay tribute to Mrs Halappanavar and demanded changes to abortion laws in Ireland
It is believed one of the areas the
hospital's Risk Review Group will investigate is the experience of the
consultant who oversaw the case.
‘Savita was in agony,’ he added. ‘She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby.
'When the consultant came on the ward
rounds, Savita asked if they could not save the baby, could they induce
to end the pregnancy.
‘The consultant said, “As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything”.’
He said he had gone from being ‘on top of the world’ to having his world torn apart in just days.
Protest: Anti-abortion campaigners hold placards in Dublin following Savita's death
VIDEO 'Memories of Savita give me the strength'. Praveen outside court
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