The husband of Savita Halappanavar, who died last year after being denied an abortion, has made a hospital negligence claim for compensation against University Hospital Galway and the HSE.
Savita Halappanavar died at the University Hospital Galway one week after attending the hospital´s A&E department complaining of an acute back pain. She was found to be in the process of miscarrying her 17 week foetus and was admitted under the care of consultant doctor Dr Katherine Astbury.
The following morning Savita´s waters broke and, because of the severe pain she was in, requested a termination. Savita was told by Dr Astbury to “await events” and it was explained to her that an abortion was not an option in Ireland while there was still a foetal heartbeat.
Savita´s condition deteriorated, and Dr Astbury eventually consulted with a senior colleague about performing a termination. However, a scan revealed that Savita´s baby had already died. Savita was moved into theatre, where she spontaneously delivered her deceased baby and was later moved into intensive care after it was found she was suffering from septic shock.
The following morning it was discovered that Savita had developed severe septicaemia due to E.coli ESBL. Savita became critically ill as her organs ceased to function and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on Sunday October 28th.
The inquest into Savita´s death delivered a verdict of “medical misadventure” and an investigation by the Health Service Executive (HSE) also failed to officially identify who was to blame for the lack of care Savita received, or acknowledge liability for her avoidable death.
Savita´s family declared the inquest and the HSE investigation a “whitewash” and, in order to get answers to the questions the family feel were overlooked, Praveen Halappanavar has made a hospital negligence claim for compensation against the University Hospital Galway and the HSE – alleging that the hospital failed to treat, failed to follow up blood tests, and failed to diagnose.
The University Hospital Galway and the HSE declined to comment on whether they will offer a defence against the hospital negligence claim or acknowledge liability before a court hearing is announced.