Inquest into miscarriage death of Indian dentist begins today

London, April 8 (ANI): An inquest into the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar last year after she suffered a miscarriage in an Irish hospital will begin today.

Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to University Hospital Galway on October 21 last year and died a week later from suspected septicaemia, days after she lost her baby, the Daily Star reported.

The 31-year-old's widower Praveen said that the couple repeatedly requested a termination but were refused because the foetal heartbeat was present.

He said they were told Ireland "is a Catholic country".

Several expert witnesses are expected to give evidence during the inquest in Galway city, scheduled for one week, including the former master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr Peter Boylan.

More than 50 statements have been furnished by health chiefs and gardai for the coroner, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, who has promised the inquest will be transparent and open to public scrutiny.

Praveen, a 34-year-old engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, has so far refused to co-operate with separate investigations by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) and the Health Service Executive's clinical review.

According to his solicitor, Gerard O'Donnell, the widower was not satisfied with the conclusions of a report by the HSE, which revealed there was an over-emphasis on the need not to intervene while there was a foetal heartbeat and that staff failed to recognise and diagnose the life-threatening infection in time.

It also reportedly found confusion among medical teams on the interpretation of Irish law on abortion.

The HSE has apologised over the treatment given to Halappanavar.

The agency's review will be updated with inquiry chairman Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran - head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George's Hospital, University of London - to include Praveen's concerns before it is brought before cabinet and published. (ANI)

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