Savita inquest begins today

The inquest in to the death of an Indian dentist after she suffered a miscarriage in Ireland will open today.

Savita Halappanavar, 31, died in hospital on October 28 from suspected septicaemia.

Her 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 in to her death will opened before the coroner for west Galway, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, at the city's courthouse.

It is hoped a full hearing will be held within the next two months.

Meanwhile two separate inquiries are continuing into Ms Halappanavar's death.

Independent health watchdog, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), is examining "the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women, at risk of clinical deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar".

The findings of the probe, which is being led by four consultants from outside the Republic of Ireland, will be made public when complete.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is also carrying out an internal investigation and gave Irish Health Minister James Reilly an update before Christmas.

"The work of the investigation team is well advanced and it is anticipated that their report will be completed early in 2013," an HSE spokeswoman added

However Mr Halappanavar, a 34-year-old engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, has refused to co-operate with either probe and has threatened to take the Government to the European courts in pursuit of a public inquiry.

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