‘Are you okay . . . I think we are losing her’

The Irish Times – Saturday, November 24, 2012, by KITTY HOLLAND

TIMELINE: This is the story of one woman’s death in an Irish hospital, based on the account given by her husband and friends

Savita Halappanavar with her husband Praveen on their wedding day

Savita Halappanavar was admitted to Galway University Hospital with back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant. Seven days later she was dead. The hospital has said it cannot comment on individual cases and in relation to Ms Halappanavar, it must await the outcome of official investigations.
October 20th
It’s a Saturday night, and Savita Halappanavar (31) and her husband Praveen (34) are holding a small get-together at their home in the Roscam area of Galway. It’s both a farewell dinner for her parents who are returning to India soon and an opportunity to announce to friends they are expecting a baby. Savita is 17 weeks pregnant. “Savita was very excited, very happy,” recalls Praveen. “All our close friends came to congratulate us.”
October 21st
Early on Sunday morning Savita beings to feel uncomfortable and has to use the bathroom repeatedly during the night. By 7.30am, she has severe back pain. Praveen calls St Monica’s ward, the maternity unit at Galway University Hospital, and is told to bring her in.
She is examined and told there is nothing to worry about, that the baby is fine and she should go home and rest, her husband says. “We came back and had breakfast. Savita went to the toilet. I was still not finished with my breakfast. She came out and she had tears in her eyes. She said she had felt something hard. She looked in shock. She said, ‘Look, there is something wrong. I’m not well. We need to go’.”
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