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HSE Chairman wants face to face meeting with Savita's husband

London, Nov 20, 2012, (PTI) :
Abortion rights protesters bearing pictures of Savita Halappanavar march through central Dublin, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, demanding that Ireland's government ensures that abortions can be performed to save a woman's life. Ireland has been shocked by the death of Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning after being denied an abortion in a Dublin hospital last month. (AP Photo

The chairman of an Irish inquiry team probing the death of Indian national Savita Halappanavar today sought a face-to-face meeting with her husband after his solicitor said he had no faith in the inquiry and would not cooperate with it.

Solicitor for the Halappanavar family, Gerard O'Donnell, said Savita's husband Praveen and his family were very concerned about the way his late wife was treated at University College Hospital Galway and "they want a full public inquiry to be held into the circumstances surrounding her death".

Savita Halappanavar, 31, died from blood poisoning at University Hospital Galway on October 28 after doctors allegedly refused to perform an abortion stating "this is a Catholic country".

Speaking on Urekabd's National Television and Radio Broadcaster RTÉ Radio, O'Donnell said Halappanavar would not consent to giving the Health Service Executive (HSE) his late wife's medical records.

"He 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," he said.

"Evidence won't be taken under oath, it won't be cross examined so I wouldn't be satisfied with that and neither would our client.

"I think it is inappropriate that anybody who was involved should conduct an inquiry into their own actions.

"The HSE are very much at the centre of this and they are purporting to inquire into their own actions or the actions of their staff…we want the evidence taken in public and people tested by way of cross examination."

Meanwhile, a statement from the HSE said they were "taking the concerns of Halappanavar extremely seriously" and were "currently examining the make up of the investigation team".

Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, an independent expert in obstetrics and gynaecology from the UK, requested a meeting with her husband today to discuss Halappanavar's concerns.

Director of the Irish Council of Civil Liberties Mark Kelly told RTE earlier that Halappanavar had made an arguable claim against the investigation.

Later speaking to PTI, Deora said, "We are working to sensitise all the state government agencies, police and other enforcement agencies to use the provisions of the Act very liberally and very selectively.

Deora said he is open to "new suggestions" in this regard.

"We will be holding cyber advisory meets with the public and we are open to new suggestions in this regard," he said when he was asked if the IT Act needs changes.

"The Information Technology Act is crystal clear as to how it should be applied and it has no scope for misuse. The Act should be used judiciously," the minister who is from Maharashtra said.


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