Savita Halappanavar medical negligence case to proceed

Application for hearing date expected within a few days, solicitor says

A candlelight vigil in Galway marking the anniversary of Savita Halappanavar’s death. File  photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

A candlelight vigil in Galway marking the anniversary of Savita Halappanavar’s death. File photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

 

The solicitor for Praveen Halappanavar, widower of Savita Halappanavar, has said he expects an application to be made within the next week to 10 days seeking a date for hearing the medical negligence case into her death at University Hospital Galway three years ago.

Galway solicitor Gerry O’Donnell said that Mr Halappanavar would return from the US for the hearing, which he hopes will be held in spring 2016.

“I am hoping the High Court will accommodate us,” Mr O’Donnell said.

Mr Halappanavar, an engineer, is currently based in California, having transferred there with his employer Boston Scientific.

Ms Halappanavar, an Indian-born dentist, died in intensive care on October 28th, 2012, one week after she presented at the hospital with severe back pain.

She was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child.

She was told she would miscarry and requested a termination of pregnancy on a number of occasions.

This request was refused because there was a foetal heartbeat.

Her condition deteriorated, and she spontaneously delivered a still-born girl after four days - having developed severe sepsis from which she never recovered.

‘Inadequate assessment’

A review into the handling of her case found that “inadequate assessment and monitoring” were contributory factors in her death, and Mr Halappanavar was issued with an apology by the chairman of the University Hospital Galway board.

The hospital also said it had implemented all of the recommendations made as a result of investigations into Ms Halappanavar’s death.

The investigations had highlighted inadequate communication between shifts about her condition as a key failing.

Mr O’Donnell has noted that the hospital had admitted liability, and the Health Service Executive (HSE) could seek to settle the case or could request that it be adjudicated by a judge.