Dentist’s widower sues hospital over her death

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THE widower of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died in an Irish hospital after being refused a termination, has initiated legal proceedings against health chiefs and his wife’s obstetrician.

Praveen Halappanavar had his legal team serve a personal injury summons against Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) West and Dr Katherine Astbury yesterday, alleging negligence in the death of the 31-year-old who was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to Galway University Hospital.

Solicitor Gerard O’Donnell said his client was “anxious to bring this chapter of his life to a close”. He added: “With the anniversary of her death coming up, he wants to start putting what he can behind him.”

Mrs Halappanavar died on 28 October last year. She was admitted to hospital when she appeared to be having a miscarriage. Her widower maintains she repeatedly requested a termination but was refused because a foetal heartbeat was present. She died after developing septicaemia.

O’Donnell said Mrs Halappanavar’s “constitutional right to life was violated”.

He said the HSE’s legal representation now has eight days to formally respond to the papers and a further 21 days to put in a defence.