Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Records show Savita Halappanavar asked for pregnancy to be terminated

Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she died after suffering a miscarriage and suspected septicaemia

The first official records that prove that Savita Halappanavar asked for a termination of her unviable pregnancy have come to light.

The request is noted in documents which have been handed in to Cononer Dr Ciaran McLaughlin for the young woman's inquest. It is understood that the request was included in the statements by the consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist who treated her before her death.

Ms Halappanavar (31) died in Galway University Hospital on October 28 from septicaemia -- seven days after being admitted to its maternity unit with back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and found to be miscarrying.

Solicitor for the deceased woman's husband Praveen Halappanavar, Gerard O'Donnell said he could not comment on any documentation which was to come before the inquest. However, he added: "All I can say is our client's story has and will be proven to be accurate."

This will be the first official confirmation that the young woman begged for a termination when it became apparent that her child would not survive. It was made within days of her admission to hospital.

The notes are also expected to outline a medical belief that it was not possible to comply with her request for a termination at the time.

They will point out that her life was not believed to have been at risk. Earlier records released made no mention of the request for a termination, but included detailed requests for items including an extra pillow and tea and toast.

The documents came to light on the same day that Ms Halappanavar's husband confirmed he will attend the opening of the inquest into her death today.

Mr Halappanavar will take part in the inquest, despite concerns he has over the HSE and HIQA investigations into her death.

The family are not participating in the HSE's clinical review of the case, nor in an inquiry by the patient-safety watchdog HIQA.

Mr O'Donnell confirmed that he received two folders of statements from gardai earlier this week.

He said: "We have now been given all the hospital records and most of the statements but it will be more the evidence under oath that we will be concentrating on."

Mr O'Donnell said he had warned his client to brace himself for the details in the reports.

He added: "I've read the reports and it makes for difficult reading. I know it will be difficult for him but he is determined to read them all and get to the truth of things."

Close to 60 witnesses are to provide written statements to coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin. The preliminary hearing is this morning and it is hoped that a full hearing will take place in March.

Minister for Health James Reilly had a private meeting with Mr Halappanavar and his solicitor in Athlone in December. He assured them that the final report from the HSE into the young dentist's death would be completed by mid-February.

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