Halappanavar inquest to open next week
An inquest into the death of the late Savita Halappanavar will open in Galway at the end of next week.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, hopes to find out why there was no intervention by medical staff at Galway University Hospital to save her life, according to his solicitor.
The coroner, Dr Ciarán MacLoughlin, confirmed the inquest would open on Friday, January 18th, in the Courthouse in Galway city.
Following preliminary statements the inquest will proceed to a full hearing “hopefully in early March”.
He said on the opening day there would be a swearing of documents: “There will be someone from management level in the HSE swearing all the available documents are being provided.”
He said if any witness was unable to make a statement or participate for medical reasons he would hear evidence from their doctor. “They won’t be able to escape from taking part without genuine good reason,” he said.
There would be “in excess of 40 statements” and he expected the full inquest to last one week.
Ms Halappanavar (31) died at Galway University Hospital on October 28th and an autopsy by Dr Grace Callagy two days found she died of septicaemia “documented ante-mortem” and E.coli ESBL.
She had been 17 weeks pregnant when she presented a week earlier with severe back pain and was found to be miscarrying. Her husband has said she repeatedly asked for a medical termination over a three-day period but this was refused as a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told “this is a Catholic country”.
His solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell, said his client hoped to “get full explanations and to begin to get at the truth”. “He’s hoping to find out why the requests for a termination were not recorded in the medical notes and why there wasn’t intervention to save his wife.
“We also hope it will begin to put a stop to commentary and speculation about whether his account is correct.
“We will have junior counsel and senior counsel there.”
Ms Halappanavar’s death has given rise to widespread debate about whether abortion should be legalised where the life of the mother is threatened. Investigations by the HSE and Health Information and Quality Authority are ongoing.