The inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar has heard that eight retrospective entries were made to her hospital records.

Counsel for Galway University Hospital said there was never any intention to mislead and no entries were deleted.

Earlier, Praveen Halappanavar said he was grateful to a midwife at the hospital for being so truthful in her evidence yesterday.

Ann Maria Burke apologised for having referred to Ireland as a Catholic country during a conversation with the 31-year-old after she requested a termination of pregnancy.

Coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin was told this morning that five of the retrospective entries in Mrs Halappanavar's medical notes had been written within an hour or more of events having taken place. The three others were made in November.

Counsel for the hospital Declan Buckley said this was an attempt to remedy any shortcomings in the notes about a serious tragedy, which was the first direct maternal death at the hospital in 17 years.

He said he could not explain one retrospective entry relating to the 24 October, the day Mrs Halappanavar developed severe sepsis.

Anaesthetists from the intensive care unit gave evidence this morning and nursing staff have been detailing the care they provided to Mrs Halappanavar.

Her husband's legal team has expressed gratitude to today's witnesses for the efforts they made to assist her.

Mr Halappanavar said he was surprised at Ms Burke's evidence yesterday, which he said came out of the blue. He said he understood the nurse's point of view and was glad she had been so honest.

He said it was difficult to listen to the evidence at the inquest, but that he got some comfort from the "truth coming out".

Microbiologist questioned about blood samples

A consultant microbiologist at Galway University Hospital was questioned about a delay in analysing blood samples.

Dr Deirbhile Keady was cross-examined by counsel for Praveen Halappanavar, Eugene Gleeson, about blood tests taken at 7am on the morning of 24 October.

When Dr Keady said she had been telephoned with some results from those tests between 8.30pm and 9pm that night, Mr Gleeson pressed her as to why it took so long the findings to be made.

Dr Keady said the sample had been received in the laboratory at 10.12am and that it would take seven hours for blood culture results.

Mr Gleeson repeatedly pressed the witness as to whether it was acceptable that it had taken so long for the sample to be cultured, given that the test was carried out at 7am.

Dr Keady said it was true that the sooner a sample was analysed the better.

She pointed out that once infection was suspected at lunchtime that Wednesday antibiotic treatment had commenced.

The witness said she did not know what had happened in the time between the bloods being taken and incubated.

The inquest has been adjourned until tomorrow morning.

The primary role of the inquest is to determine key facts concerning the death of Mrs Halappanavar on 28 October following a miscarriage.

Mrs Halappanavar was 17 weeks' pregnant at the time.

The HSE's draft clinical review into Mrs Halappanavar's death, given to Savita's husband, Praveen Halappanavar, over a week ago, has yet to be published.

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