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News updated at 2:05 AM IST

Savita's husband welcomes apology of midwife

London, Apr 11, 2013, (PTI) : 10:49 IST

Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar's husband today welcomed an apology given by a midwife for her remarks about Ireland being a "Catholic country" while denying termination to his 17-week pregnant wife.

As Praveen Halappanavar arrived for day four of the inquest into the death of 31-year-old Savita at Galway Courthouse, he was asked if he understood and forgave the comments by midwife Ann Maria Burke.

"Oh yes I do. And I would like to thank her for being so honest. I think it came out of the blue. Yes," said the 34-year-old engineer.

"It just gives some comfort that the truth is coming out," he added.
A visibly shaken Burke, a clinical midwife manager at University Hospital Galway where Savita died last October, had told the Irish inquiry yesterday the comments had preyed on her mind since she made them five days before the death, and insisted she had never meant them in a "hurtful context".

According to Irish media reports, Praveen Halappanavar said he still "sticks to" his allegation that his wife's consultant obstetrician, Dr Katherine Astbury, had made a similar comment.

Dr Astbury, however, has denied the claim, insisting she refused a termination the day before the miscarriage because there was no risk to Savita's life at the time.

Savita, originally from Karnataka, had been practising as a dentist in the Republic of Ireland.

She was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital with severe back pain on October 21 last year.

She delivered a dead baby daughter three days later and was rushed to intensive care within hours of the delivery, where she remained in a critical condition.

On October 28, she died of a heart attack caused by septicaemia, an infection in the blood, due to E coli bacteria

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