Father of Savita appeals for public inquiry
The father of the late Savita Halappanavar has made a public appeal to the Government to hold a public inquiry into his daughter’s death.
Andanappa Yalagi, speaking to a freelance video journalist at the family home in the Srinigar neighbourhood of Belgaum, Karnataka, in southwest India, said he was not happy with progress so far in finding out why his daughter died in Galway University Hospital on October 28th.
“We would like to appeal to the Irish Government to please consider funding a public inquiry. We are not happy with the progress made so far. We all don’t understand the HSE investigation. So once again I ask the Irish Government to consider funding a public inquiry.”
The parents of Ms Halappanavar (31) also said in an interview with the Times of India that they hoped her death might lead to legislative change that could save other people’s daughters in the future.
In the interview her mother, Akamahadevi Yalagi, described her dread of waking every morning since Savita’s death. She says she does not like to sleep “because waking is so terrible”.
Her father said: “I still have many moments when I almost think it isn’t true”, while a first cousin of Savita commented: “When Savita was alive, everything about her was life.”
Savita was their youngest of three children and their only daughter. Her mother described how she loved to dance.
“When she was little she loved to dance. She did so at home and at every family function. She taught herself in front of the TV.”
Her father said: “My daughter should be alive, but if these wrong laws change, at least we will know that in her death, future daughters were saved.”
Over the weekend Savita’s husband, Praveen Halappanavar, appeared on a number of Indian national television networks, describing her treatment at the Galway hospital as “horrendous”.
In an interview with New Delhi TV, he said he did not know whether he would stay in Ireland long-term. “At the minute I’m not thinking about that [long-term plans]. At the minute I am purely focused on getting justice. The whole family is eagerly waiting. We can’t just shy away from what has happened. It could happen to someone else tomorrow.”
Separately, he has given the Government until Friday to institute a public inquiry into her death, warning he will make an application to the European Court of Human Rights if the deadline passes.
His solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell, confirmed he had written yesterday to Minister for Health James Reilly reiterating his request for a full public inquiry.
“I pointed out to him that there is an obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights that there be a public inquiry and I suggested to him that an inquiry could be established under the Commission of Inquiry Act, some of it in public, some private and presided over by a High Court judge.”
Mr Halappanavar has said the medical notes which were released to him on November 16th record no mention of his wife’s alleged repeated request for a termination of the 17-week pregnancy she was miscarrying.
Ms Halappanavar died at the Galway University Hospital on October 28th, a week after she presented with back pain and was found to be miscarrying.
Her husband says she asked several times for a termination as the miscarriage lasted four days. This was refused, he says, because a foetal heartbeat was present. She died of septicaemia three days after the foetal heartbeat stopped and the womb contents were removed.