31-year-old Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital and found out she was miscarrying. She requested that her doctors terminate the pregnancy, but they refused, and Savita died from an infection not long after.
Now, Savita’s widower Praveen is taking legal action against Galway University Hospital and Dr. Katherine Astbury for what he deems negligence and a breech of Savita’s right to life.
"It is a personal injury summons seeking compensation for the loss suffered by Praveen on the death of his wife Savita,” said Praveen’s lawyer, Gerard O’Donnell, to the Irish Times. “She had a constitutional right to life and that constitutional right was breached. The papers cover in excess of 30 particulars of neglect separate from the constitutional breach.”
O’Donnell also further explained the reason why Dr. Astbury is also named as a co-defendant.
"The matter is now with them and it all depends on the attitude of the defendant,” said O’Donnell. “Because the HSE Clinical Indemnity Scheme does not name individual doctors we took the view that it was important to do so in case any matters arise in the future.”
According to O’Donnell, Praveen is in a difficult place after his wife’s death, but is moving forward with legal action almost a year later.
"He's still very upset about everything,” said O’Donnell. “It is coming up to the first anniversary and that is very hard for him but he is happy that we are moving forward.”
Reports show that Dr. Astbury, who refused to perform an abortion on Savita after it was realized that she was miscarrying, ultimately causing the woman’s death, did not look at the patient notes on the day that she died, instead relying on the registrar to do it. Now, Praveen Halappanavar is fighting the hospital and doctor in the hopes of finding justice for his wife’s untimely death.