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Dublin: 12°C Monday 10 May 2021

Praveen Halappanavar: 'The next few days are going to be very tough'

The widower of Savita Halappanavar is among those giving evidence on the first day of an inquest into her death in Galway.

Savita Halappanavar's widower Praveen arrives at the inquest into his wife's death in Galway this morning.
Savita Halappanavar's widower Praveen arrives at the inquest into his wife's death in Galway this morning.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE WIDOWER of Savita Halappanavar has said the next few days will be “very tough” for him as he attends an inquest into the death of his wife.

Praveen Halappanavar is among those giving evidence in Ireland on the first day of the inquest into how Savita died at University Hospital Galway last October after suffering a miscarriage.

She was 17 weeks pregnant and miscarrying when she was admitted to the hospital on October 21, complaining of backache.

Praveen said his wife, a Hindu, repeatedly requested that doctors terminate the pregnancy but they refused because there was still a foetal heartbeat.

Savita died of suspected septicaemia on October 28, five days after losing her baby.

“The next few days are going to be very tough,” Praveen said as he arrived for the first day of evidence at Galway Coroner’s Court.

RTÉ News reported that the Halappanavar family GP, Dr Helen Howley, had told the inquest how Savita had been healthy and ‘full of joy’ when presenting for her 12-week review.

‘Catholic country’

When told she was miscarrying, Savita had asked Dr Katherine Astbury to administer a termination but was told it could not be performed because “this is a Catholic country”.

Praveen said Savita had replied saying she was a Hindu and not an Irish citizen, and asked why the law would be imposed on a Hindu – but the doctor had apologised and walked away.

During his opening address, coroner Ciaran McLoughlin expressed his sympathies to the Halappanavar family.

“An inquest is an inquiry held in public to determine how and where the death occurred,” he told the packed courtroom.

It is a fact-finding exercise. There are no parties, no indictment, no defence. It is quite unlike the criminal court process.

It is there to establish a cause of death, allay rumours and draw attention to any facts that left unremedied may lead to other deaths.

The medics who treated Savita will be among those called to give evidence at the inquest, which is expected to last at least a week.

Nearly 70 statements from hospital staff, police and other sources have been gathered for the inquest but not all of their authors will appear as witnesses, the court heard.

Read: Inquest into death of Savita Halappanavar begins in Galway

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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