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Savita's husband demands 'full public inquiry' into her death

Dublin, Nov 20, 2012 (IANS)

Even as the husband of the late Savita Halappanavar demanded an independent inquiry into the Indian woman's death, Irish Education Minister Ruairí Quinn said Tuesday the probe should be carried out by people directly involved along with outside experts.

Solicitor Gerard O'Donnell, who represents Praveen Halappanavar, said the family was very concerned about the way Savita was treated at University College Hospital Galway (HSE).

"They want a full public inquiry to be held into the circumstances surrounding her death," the irishtimes.com quoted O'Donnell as saying Tuesday.

"He (Halappanavar) feels that anybody who is appointed by the HSE and paid for by the HSE to conduct and inquiry into his wife's death won't meet the criteria that we would advise him as lawyers of getting to the truth," O'Donnell said.

However, Education Minister Quinn said Tuesday that the inquiry should be carried out by the people directly involved, along with outside experts. "If a subsequent inquiry is necessary, then that will be for people best placed to make that judgement to make that decision," he said.

In an interview with The Irish Times Monday night, Halappanavar said he would request through his solicitor that John J. Morrison, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology; Catherine Fleming, consultant in infectious diseases; and Brian Harte, consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care at the hospital, be removed from the inquiry.

The HSE announced details of the membership of the inquiry team at a press conference in Dublin Monday.

Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist from Karanataka, died at the Galway hospital Oct 28 of septicaemia seven days after she presented with back pain.
She had been 17 weeks pregnant and her husband says she asked repeatedly for a termination over a three-day period but was refused.

Her husband, who works at Boston Scientific in Galway, arrived back in Ireland from India Sunday and met his solicitor Monday to discuss the draft terms of reference for the independent inquiry.


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