herald

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Savita's husband may take part in second inquiry

THE devastated husband of Savita Halappanavar has indicated that he may be willing to participate in a second State inquiry into his wife's death.

Praveen Halappanavar (34) was holding talks with his legal team today as the health watchdog prepared to launch its own investigation.

The news come as the beleaguered Health Minister James Reilly insisted that the second inquiry -- which would be conducted by Health Information and Quality Authority -- was not a U-turn.



abortion

Well-placed sources confirmed to the Herald that the board of the HIQA was today "highly likely" to announce that its own team will investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the Indian dentist.

And Mr Halappanavar's legal team said that he was "not ruling out" the possibility of participating in this probe.

His solicitor, Gerard O'Donnell, stated however that it would be crucial that the HIQA inquiry "sits in public, is open and witnesses are called".

The HIQA board was due to meet at approximately 9am today to decide what action it will take.

Mr Halappanavar had been adamant that he would not cooperate with the HSE.

But the HSE insisted that they will press ahead with their investigation, saying to do otherwise would be "criminally negligent".

But any decision to cooperate with HIQA would prove a welcome relief for Dr Reilly who has been strongly criticised for his performance in the aftermath of Savita's death.

He has rejected claims that a second State inquiry would represent a U-turn, instead describing it as an "extra dimension".

HIQA inquiries are usually carried out in private and do not involve witnesses giving statements under oath.

However, given the delicate nature of the Savita situation, it is to be seen whether the parameters of such an inquiry could be widened to facilitate the requests of Mr Halappanavar.

Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding Savita's medical documents has continued after it emerged that her continuous pleas for a termination were not recorded in the HSE's notes on her death.

It's been revealed that the documents contained routine information relating to her stay in the hospital -- such as the provision of tea and toast and an extra blanket -- but did not detail requests for an abortion.

The Health Minister himself has admitted that the absence of the notes is a "concern".

Savita (31) died in Galway University Hospital following a miscarriage on October 28.

Her husband Praveen says that in the days before she died, she had requested a termination after she was told she was going to lose the baby.

hnews@herald.ie

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