Settlement reportedly made over Halappanavar case

Wednesday 09 March 2016 23.48
Praveen Halappanavar had issued High Court proceedings against the HSE for negligence in the death of his wife Savita
Praveen Halappanavar had issued High Court proceedings against the HSE for negligence in the death of his wife Savita

The Health Service Executive is understood to have made an out-of-court settlement with Savita Halappanavar's husband.

Praveen Halappanavar had issued High Court proceedings against the HSE for negligence in the death of his wife.

The 31-year-old died following a miscarriage at University Hospital Galway in October 2012.

Legal proceedings were listed to begin in the High Court tomorrow but agreement on a settlement was reached in the past few days. 

The court will be told tomorrow that the matter has been settled.

The detail of the agreement has not been made public but it is thought to have significant financial implications for the HSE.

The settlement brings to an end the legal proceedings against hospital staff and management following the death of Ms Halappanavar.

Had the High Court case proceeded, it would have led to full cross-examination of witnesses.

Mrs Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she died.

The jury at the inquest into her death returned a verdict of medical misadventure.

Two subsequent reports into the circumstances surrounding her death and the care she received in University Hospital Galway found several failings.

A report by the Health Information and Quality Authority found a failure to provide the most basic elements of care.

The 257-page report found that there were many missed opportunities, which if acted on, might have changed the outcome for Mrs Halappanavar.

Shortcomings at University Hospital Galway (UHG) were identified and the report said the management of the delivery of maternity services was not consistent with best practice.

Separately, a HSE Clinical Review found inadequate assessment and monitoring.

It said there was also a failure to recognise the gravity of the situation and the increasing risk to the 31-year-old's life during her stay in hospital.

The Saolta hospital group, which oversees the management of UHG, reviewed the actions of all staff who treated Ms Halappanavar during her time at UHG.

Disciplinary measures were taken in respect of nine staff. There were no dismissals or suspensions.

Praveen Halappanavar now lives in the US, having moved there in recent years for work.

The State Claims Agency - the body charged with handling medical negligence claims taken against public hospitals or the HSE - says that it never comments on individual cases but that the vast majority of cases are settled out of court.

There is a preference on the part of the agency to take this course of action, unless there are complicating factors at issue or detailed issues regarding liability.