London: The husband of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died after being denied an abortion in Ireland, broke down in tears as he recounted the incidents leading up to his wife's death during an inquest which opened today.
Praveen Halappanavar explained how his wife asked twice for a termination as she lay in hospital in excruciating pain and broke down in the dock 45 minutes into his statement, which had to be halted by coroner Ciarn McLoughlin to give him time to recover.
"Savita asked for a termination two times. Savita was in tears. She said she could not take it. The doctor did not come back that day," he told the hearing.
According to local Irish media reports, the courthouse was packed to capacity today for the hearing before a jury of six men and four women into the death of 31-year-old Savita who died at Galway University Hospital following a miscarriage last October.
Praveen said he and his wife had asked consultant obstetrician Dr Katharine Astbury for a termination on October 23, 2012, after learning that she was miscarrying at 17 weeks. Astbury told her that "unfortunately" the foetus was still alive.
The couple again asked for a termination the following day.
"She said, 'unfortunately, I can't. This is a Catholic country," the 34-year-old engineer Boston Scientific in Galway told the inquest.
He said his wife pointed out that she was a Hindu and wasn't an Irish citizen, but Dr Astbury said sorry and walked away.
Halappanavar's statement then went on to recount the deterioration in his wife's health, which resulted in her death on October 28.
As part of his 90-minute statement reported in the 'Irish Times', Praveen Halappanavar related how he met and married Savita and how they travelled to scenic sites around the country and developed a network of friends locally.
"Savita found Ireland so peaceful compared to the hustle and bustle of India," he said, adding they always planned to have a baby in 2013 and were delighted when they found out last July that she was pregnant.
She went to hospital as a result of severe back pain and was told she was miscarrying. (MORE)