UK

Savita Halappanavar Inquest: Husband Forgives Midwife Over Miscarriage

11/04/2013 12:38 BST

The widower of an Indian woman who died following a miscarriage in hospital in Ireland said he forgives a midwife who said a termination was not possible because of Catholic influence.

Praveen Halappanavar thanked the senior nurse for her honesty at the inquest into the death of his wife Savita, who died from septicaemia due to E.coli four days after she delivered her daughter dead.

praveen halappanavar

Praveen Halappanavar said there was 'some comfort that the truth is coming out' over his wife's death

As Mr Halappanavar arrived for day four of the inquiry, he was asked if he forgives and understands the comments by midwife Ann Maria Burke.

"Oh yes I do," he said. "And I would like to thank her for being so honest. I think it came out of the blue. Yes."

The midwife manager at University Hospital Galway yesterday apologised for using the words "it's a Catholic country" during a conversation she had with 31-year-old Mrs Halappanavar while she was in her care.

Ms Burke insisted she said it in kindness and was explaining the law of the land and the differences between Ireland and other countries and was not being insensitive.

Mr Halappanavar said he still "sticks to" his allegation that his wife's consultant obstetrician, Dr Katherine Astbury, said the same comment.

The senior medic has denied the claim, insisting she refused a termination the day before the miscarriage because there was no risk to Mrs Halappanavar's life at the time.

The widower said it has been very difficult sitting through the testimonies of medics, including Dr Astbury who admitted there were system failures in his late wife's care.

"I seen it all," he added. "It just gives some comfort that the truth is coming out."

Mrs Halappanavar was admitted to hospital on Sunday 21 October and delivered a dead baby daughter three days later.

She died the following Sunday of a heart attack.

As the hearing opened, a barrister defended information being added to Mrs Halappanavar's medical notes after her death.

Declan Buckley, senior counsel for the hospital, its staff and the Health Service Executive (HSE), confirmed that eight retrospective entries and one sheet of notes had been put in by nursing staff, who were asked to write what they remembered in the context of the tragedy.

"It was the first maternal death at the hospital in 16 to 17 years," he said.

Galway Coroner Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin raised concerns on Wednesday over the notes, some of which were added up to two weeks after death, and stressed that he had never seen so many retrospective entries in his life.

Mr Buckley said the additions - which are clearly marked as being added at a later date - attempted to remedy any shortcomings and the hospital staff were doing the best they could to deal with the situation.

"It was never any intention to mislead anyone," he added.