Man to sue government over wife's death

Nov. 30, 2012 at 4:04 PM
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DUBLIN, Ireland, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The husband of an Indian woman who died in an Irish hospital after doctors refused to give her an abortion says he plans to sue Ireland's government.

Praveen Halappanavar has asked his lawyers to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights over his wife's death, Sky News reported Friday.

Halappanavar's wife, Savita, died in Galway University Hospital on Oct. 28 -- one week after being admitted for severe pain during a miscarriage. She was 17 weeks pregnant.

Savita Halappanavar asked doctors to perform a medical termination but was told, "This is a Catholic country," Praveen Halappanavar said.

Gerard O'Donnell, Halappanavar's attorney, said there are issues because a public inquiry hasn't been carried out in Ireland.

The Halappanavar family said they would file a lawsuit with the European court if Health Minister James Reilly failed to have a public inquiry into the circumstances of Savita Halappanavar's death by the end of the week.

"The difficulty is that we are seeking a public inquiry and the European court will of course wonder have we exhausted remedies here in Ireland first," he said.

The lawsuit will be filed under article two of the European Convention of Human Rights, which states that a person is entitled to an inquiry that is independent, effective, prompt and open to public scrutiny, O'Donnell said.

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