Savita Halappanavar's abortion requests 'go missing' from medical files

Hospital medical notes relating to the care of pregnant Indian woman Savita Halappanavar, who died after being denied an abortion in Ireland, have no record of her asking for a termination.

Health Service Executive (HSE) files on Halappanava’s death include her requests for tea, toast and an extra blanket, but not her repeated appeals for an abortion.

Savita Halappanavar
Looking for the truth: Savita Halappanavar died owing to a blood infection four days after her miscarriage. Her husband Praveen says that their requests for abortion are no longer present in the hospital files. File Pic

Her grieving husband Praveen’s solicitor made the allegations as he called on India to pile pressure on Irish government to hold a public inquiry.

Lawyer Gerard O’Donnell said there was ‘a huge deficiency’ in tragic Savita’s medical file, which will play a key role in the internal HSE probe.

Praveen (34), has refused to participate because he has no faith in it being impartial.

“We made a request for termination and there is no note of the request at all, and of the medical notes. The response from the doctor is not in the medical records.”

Savita (31), died last month, days after doctors repeatedly denied her an abortion and reportedly told her that ‘this is a Catholic country’.

“We’ve studied the records closely, I’ve had them looked at by another doctor and I wrote to the HSE on Monday regarding shortcomings... There is absolutely no request in the records that Savita and her husband looked for a termination,” O’Donnell said.

HSE boss Tony O’Brien said he was not aware of any deficiencies in the files, the report said. A second statutory probe was set to be launched by the Health Information and Quality Authority, it added.

Watchdog launches probe into Savita’s death
Health watchdog HIQA has launched a statutory inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar after a miscarriage. A formal request for a second investigation over Halappanavar’s death in hospital was made by the HSE amid concerns over the independence of its own inquiry. It came as Labour ministers Ruairi Quinn and Pat Rabbitte backed new legislation as the only way to resolve the abortion crisis triggered by Savita’s death. Her husband, Praveen, is battling the government to hold a public inquiry into her death on October 28, which he claims happened after she was denied an abortion as she miscarried. Praveen is considering an application to the European Court of Human Rights to meet his demands for a wider investigation. 

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