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Savita Halappanavar's widower 'forgives' Galway midwife

Savita Halappanavar
Image caption Savita Halappanavar, a dentist originally from India, died after a miscarriage at an Irish hospital last year

The widower of an Indian woman who died in an Irish hospital after miscarrying has said he forgives a midwife who said a termination was not possible because Ireland was "a Catholic country".

Praveen Halappanavar thanked the senior nurse for her honesty at the inquest into the death of his wife Savita.

The 31-year-old died from septicaemia due to E.coli four days following a miscarriage.

Mr Halappanavar thanked midwife Ann Burke for her honesty on Wednesday.

Ms Burke, a midwife manager at Galway University Hospital where Savita died, had told the inquest she was very upset about the "Catholic country" remark and that she did not mean it in a hurtful context.

She insisted she said it in kindness and was explaining the law of the land and the differences between Ireland and other countries and was not being insensitive.

As Mr Halappanavar arrived for day four of the inquiry in Galway, he was asked if he understood and forgave the comments by the midwife.

"Oh yes I do," he said. "And I would like to thank her for being so honest. I think it came out of the blue. Yes."

Mr Halappanavar said he still "sticks to" his allegation that his wife's consultant obstetrician, Dr Katherine Astbury, said the same comment.

The senior medic has denied the claim, insisting she refused a termination the day before the miscarriage because there was no risk to Mrs Halappanavar's life at the time.

The widower said it had been very difficult sitting through the testimonies of medics, including Dr Astbury, who admitted there were system failures in his late wife's care.

"It just gives some comfort that the truth is coming out," he added.

Mrs Halappanavar was admitted to hospital on Sunday, 21 October and delivered a dead baby daughter on Wednesday 24 October. She died the following Sunday.

The inquest at Galway courthouse continues.

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