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Saturday 20 December 2014

We'll sue HSE over death of Savita, says her father

Andanappa Yalagi, father of Savita Halappanavar. Photo: REUTERS
Andanappa Yalagi, father of Savita Halappanavar. Photo: REUTERS

THE father of tragic Savita Halappanavar has vowed to make the HSE "pay the price" for the death of his daughter.

Andaneppa Yalagi last night told of his family's plans to bring a civil case against the State body now that the inquest into Savita's death has concluded.

Mr Yalagi angrily hit out at the hospital staff who treated Savita and revealed his plans to travel to Ireland "as part of my continued fight for justice".

And, speaking to the Herald from his home in India, Mr Yalagi confirmed that his family is now planning on taking legal action against the HSE and University Hospital Galway.

"Those responsible for Savita's death must pay for the pain and hurt they have caused. This fight is not over. I will continue to seek justice because it is the only thing I can now do," he said.

"Savita is dead and she is dead because of the treatment she received. We are not satisfied with the inquest because the questions of 'why' and 'how' Savita died have not been answered.

 

Parents

"So we will look to take legal action. That will be one of the next steps for us and I am in consultation with my son-in-law [Praveen] about what we will do."

Mr Yalagi added that he intends to travel to Ireland in the future and will request to meet members of the Government.

"I will travel to your country as part of my continued fight for justice," he said.

The family are understood to have accepted that the Irish Government will not accede to demands for a public inquiry.

Meanwhile, Praveen Halappanavar is due to return to India to brief his family on the implications of the verdict of Friday's inquest which found that his wife died from 'medical misadventure'.

"There are still some questions that need answered. I haven't got my answers yet," he said.

"I owe it to Savita and I owe it to Savita's parents to get all the answers and all the truth."

Savita's parents, Andaneppa and Akhamahadevi, were given updates twice per day throughout the duration of the inquest.

The inquest heard how Praveen had driven Savita's parents to Dublin to catch a flight home to India on Tuesday, October 23, the day before Savita became gravely ill.

Friends now say the Yalagis had been in Ireland for 85 days on a 90-day holiday visa and were worried about breaching Ireland's immigration laws.

Praveen told the inquest that Savita had assured her mother and father that she was going to be fine, despite entering her third day in hospital.

"The visa was running out and it was playing on their minds and with Savita's assurances, they decided to return to India," said one family friend.

"It was devastating for them to learn 48 hours later that Savita was in a critical condition."

Praveen's solicitor, Gerard O'Donnell, will this week brief counsel on taking a case on behalf of both Savita and Praveen to the European Court of Human Rights. There were demands yesterday for the details of another strand of the investigations to be made public.

 

Failures

The chairman of the HSE West Regional Health Forum, Cllr Padraig Conneely, said that in light of the 'systems failures' identified during the eight-day inquest into Savita's death, it was 'imperative' the HIQA findings also be made immediately known.

Last November, the HSE asked HIQA to begin an investigation into Mrs Halappanavar's death, in addition to its own inquiry. A copy of the HSE investigation has already been presented to Mr O'Donnell for Praveen's viewing.

The HIQA investigation is looking into "the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women at risk of clinical deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar".

But following the shortcomings identified in her overall care while she was a patient at the Galway hospital, Cllr Conneely stressed that time was now of the essence in rectifying the issues highlighted at her inquest, as well as any others found by HIQA.

"I attended a number of days of evidence at the inquest and really, for a centre of excellence, the deficiencies identified were at times mind-boggling," he said.

"I would expect the HIQA report to be even more detailed as it will focus directly on safety and quality of standards at the hospital.

"This is now a matter of urgency," Cllr Conneely added.

hnews@herald.ie

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