The husband of Savita Halappanavar, the woman who tragically died in a Galway hospital after doctors refused to abort her miscarrying baby, has written an account for the Daily Mail of the days leading to his wife's death.
"FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19: ...When she became pregnant over the summer, we were over the moon. We are told the baby is 'absolutely fine' and given a due date of March 30.
"SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21: Savita wakes me at 8am complaining of back pain and cramps. I drive her to hospital where her blood pressure and heartbeat are checked and a urine sample is taken.
"She has by now lost a lot of fluids. She is frantic with worry but we are told everything is OK and sent home.
"... At home she goes to the toilet and emerges frightened. We rush back to hospital where the midwife carries out an internal examination....The staff tell me: 'She's miscarrying.' They explain that she has cervical dilation and the neck of the womb has opened. They say they can't save the baby...
"MONDAY, OCTOBER 22: In the morning the consultant meets Savita. She suggests a scan be done. There is still a heartbeat and she says: 'The foetus is still alive.'
"Savita finds this unbearable and is in a flood of tears. She then asks for a termination. The consultant's response shocks me. 'It's a Catholic country,' she says. 'We won't be able to terminate if the baby is still alive.'
"Savita, a Hindu, is stunned, saying: 'But I'm not Catholic or Irish, so why are you imposing this law on me?'
"The consultant apologizes but stands firm. My wife is nothing if not determined and keeps pleading, saying: 'If you can't save the baby, why can't you just terminate? There is no way to go back now.' The consultant eventually leaves saying she will come back later."
"TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23: ...The consultant returns to check on Savita and does a heartbeat check of the baby. Savita finds this torturous and keeps crying out: 'What's the point of hanging on?'
"We then make our second request for a termination.
"The consultant says: 'The foetus is still alive, we can't do anything.'
"....(Savita) will not give up on her request for a termination. The midwife says she will check again with the consultant but later reports back saying: 'We can't do anything, it's a Catholic thing.'
"WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24: ... I can see her condition has deteriorated; she is very weak and her breathing does not seem right to me.
"In the middle of the night Savita starts vomiting violently. Every time she takes a sip of water, she throws up. During the next few hours she gets worse. By the morning I realise how bad things are....
"...It occurs to me then that up until that point their priority has been the foetus, not Savita. That morning they move Savita to another room, closer to their work station so they can keep a close eye on her.
"The consultant returns mid-afternoon....She arrives with the scanning machine for the baby. I am asked to leave but this time I do not budge - I want to know what is happening to my wife.
"I notice there is no heartbeat. Savita is in terrible pain and they are giving her antibiotics and inserting these thick syringes into her back that she finds very painful. ..
"Suddenly things start happening very quickly. Other doctors arrive from the high dependency unit and I am asked to sign a consent form for a central line to be inserted into her neck. They rush her into theatre where, while they are putting the central line in, she delivers the baby.
"They tell me later that the baby as well as the placenta has come out. I can't tell you how relieved I am in that moment... the doctors move Savita to the high dependency unit so they can keep a close eye on her because of the infection. I am reassured by the doctor that she will be OK and when I come to see her, she is sitting up so I tell myself that she's going to be fine.
"Shortly after, the hospital staff encourage me to go home.... I am not home long when I get a call from the hospital saying Savita is being moved to the Intensive Care Unit. When I arrive at the hospital she is sedated and on a ventilator. She never regains consciousness.
"THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25: ...Later that evening I find a passing doctor who tells me she has septic shock but that: 'She's young, she'll get away with it.' I go home that night slightly reassured but anxious. They use the words 'critically stable', and that worries me.
"FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26: At lunchtime a doctor gives me the results of Savita's blood tests. I am told she has septicaemia and E.coli and that she is still critical with no change.
"SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27: Somehow I get through the day with the support of my friends. Late in the evening I am told by a doctor: 'She's critically ill; very, very ill.'
"SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28: ... After midnight I go to the hospital chapel and start praying furiously for her. I am still there when the nurse comes looking for me.
'She's almost dying,' she says. I rush to her side where hospital staff are pumping her heart. I sit down and hold her hand, praying hard and fast ...
TO READ PRAVEEN HALAPPANAVAR'S FULL ACCOUNT CLICK HERE
Log in with your social accounts:
Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:
Don't have an account yet? Register now !
Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:
Already have an account ? Log in
Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:
Make sure we gathered the correct information from you
You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.
Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: