Halappanavar begins action against hospital, doctor

Proceedings allege negligence and breach of Savita’s right to life by hospital and clinicians

Praveen Halappanavar alleges medical negligence and a breach of  wife Savita’s right to life, by Galway  hospital and the team of clinicians.

Praveen Halappanavar alleges medical negligence and a breach of wife Savita’s right to life, by Galway hospital and the team of clinicians.

 

KITTY HOLLAND

The husband of the late Savita Halappanavar has served legal proceedings against Galway University Hospital and the consultant who treated her in the week before her death.

Praveen Halappanavar’s solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell, said the proceedings, against hospital and Dr Katherine Astbury, were served to the hospital’s solicitors in the city yesterday. He said the proceedings alleged medical negligence and a breach of Ms Halappananvar’s right to life, by the hospital and the team of clinicians led by Dr Astbury.

Ms Halappanavar died at the Galway hospital on October 28th last. She had been 17 weeks pregnant and miscarrying when she was admitted to the hospital on October 21st. She had requested a termination of the pregnancy after being told she was miscarrying but this was refused as the foetal heartbeat was still present. She contacted septicaemia and went into septic shock, particularly after October 24th, after she delivered the foetus. She suffered multi-organ failure and died at 1.09 am in intensive care a week after she arrived at the hospital.

A inquest into her death in April returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure, while a HSE investigation into her care found there was an overemphasis on the welfare of the unviable foetus and an under emphasis on Ms Halappanavar’s deterioration. An investigation by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) is ongoing.

The proceedings relate to the care she received between October 21st and the morning and early afternoon of October 24th. Mr Halappanavar has no issues with the care his late wife received in the high dependency and intensive care units between the afternoon of October 24th and the time of her death, at 1.09 am on October 28th.

Speaking to The Irish Times today, Mr O’Donnell said his client was “pleased” the proceedings had now been served. The decision to take legal action against the hospital was first reported in The Irish Times in July.

“He is anxious to get things moving,” said Mr O’Donnell. “This is another strand in achieving accountability. That is what my client wants and it is what her family wants.”