Coroner promises 'transparent and accountable' Savita inquest

Praveen Halappanavar

A coroner has promised the husband of an Indian dentist who died after she suffered a miscarriage in Ireland that her inquest will be transparent and open to public scrutiny.

Savita Halappanavar died in hospital on October 28 last year from suspected septicaemia.

The 31-year-old’s husband, Praveen, claims that doctors at Galway University Hospital refused to carry out an abortion 17 weeks into her pregnancy because a foetal heartbeat was present.

He says they were told Ireland “is a Catholic country”.

The inquest into Mrs Halappanavar’s death was opened before the Coroner for Galway city, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, this morning.

He urged all sides involved in the hearing to respect the functions of the court after medical records stating that Mrs Halappanavar had requested an abortion were leaked last night.

The family’s legal team had previously said that medical notes they had seen did not record the request for a termination.

Dr MacLoughlin offered his condolences to Mr Halappanavar and said he would carry out the inquiry with dignity and respect “his beloved Savita”.

“It is my duty as coroner to ensure that the inquiry shall be independent, effective and prompt – that the procedures are open, transparent and accountable and are subject to public scrutiny,” Dr MacLoughlin said.

The hearing, which is expected to last more than a week, will begin on April 8 at Galway Courthouse.

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