London: The husband of an Indian dentist, who died after being refused an abortion in Ireland, has credited his departed wife for the strength to continue his fight for truth.
Savita Halappanavar died in hospital on October 28 last year from suspected septicaemia.
"It`s not easy to sit there in the court to see all the proceedings. I believe I`m getting that strength from somewhere to look forward. I suppose I believe it is coming from Savita. She was that type of a person,” The Irish Times quoted Praveen Halappanavar (31) as saying.
The preliminary hearing of inquest has begun. "She was always there for me so I`m getting the strength from that," he added.
He said that doctors at Galway University Hospital refused to carry out an abortion 17 weeks into her pregnancy because a foetal heartbeat was present.
Praveen said they were told Ireland "is a Catholic country."
At the inquest into Savita`s death yesterday, the Coroner for Galway city, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, promised her husband that her inquest will be transparent and open to public scrutiny.
He offered his condolences to Savita`s husband and vowed to conduct the hearing with solemn respect, dignity and courtesy to him and to the memory of his "beloved Savita".
Dr MacLoughlin said: "It is my duty as coroner to ensure that the inquiry shall be independent, effective and prompt - that the procedures are open, transparent and accountable and are subject to public scrutiny."
He also added that her next of kin would be involved to an appropriate extent.
Dr MacLoughlin urged all sides involved in the hearing to respect the functions of the court after medical records stating that Savita had requested an abortion were leaked last night.
The family`s legal team had previously said that medical notes they had seen did not record the request for a termination.
The hearing, which is expected to last more than a week, will begin on April 8 at Galway Courthouse.
Dr MacLoughlin was told 48 statements have already been furnished by health chiefs and gardai, with six more to be ready within a week.
However, John O`Donnell, junior counsel for Praveen, raised concerns about two more witnesses who have not, and may not, be able to assist the inquest due to personal difficulties.
Speaking about his wife`s final moments, last month, Praveen said: "In the night, at around one o`clock, the nurse came running, as I was standing outside ICU. She just told me to be brave, and she took me near Savita, and she said: `Will you be ok to be there, living her last minutes? `I said: `Yes, I want to`. I was holding her hand, they were trying to pump her heart, there was a big team around. The doctor just told me they lost her."