London: Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar`s husband on Thursday welcomed an apology given by a midwife for her remarks about Ireland being a "Catholic country" while denying termination to his 17-week pregnant wife.
As Praveen Halappanavar arrived for day four of the inquest into the death of 31-year-old Savita at Galway Courthouse, he was asked if he understood and forgave the comments by midwife Ann Maria Burke.
"Oh yes I do. And I would like to thank her for being so honest. I think it came out of the blue. Yes," said the 34-year-old engineer.
"It just gives some comfort that the truth is coming out," he added.
A visibly shaken Burke, a clinical midwife manager at University Hospital Galway where Savita died last October, had told the Irish inquiry yesterday the comments had preyed on her mind since she made them five days before the death, and insisted she had never meant them in a "hurtful context".
According to Irish media reports, Praveen Halappanavar said he still "sticks to" his allegation that his wife`s consultant obstetrician, Dr Katherine Astbury, had made a similar comment.
Dr Astbury, however, has denied the claim, insisting she refused a termination the day before the miscarriage because there was no risk to Savita`s life at the time.
Savita, originally from Karnataka, had been practising as a dentist in the Republic of Ireland.
She was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital with severe back pain on October 21 last year.
She delivered a dead baby daughter three days later and was rushed to intensive care within hours of the delivery, where she remained in a critical condition.
On October 28, she died of a heart attack caused by septicaemia, an infection in the blood, due to E coli bacteria.
The ongoing inquest, being heard by a jury of six men and five women, was told by her husband that her two requests for a termination had been denied in the lead up to her death following the miscarriage.
The hearings will continue tomorrow, and possibly a few days next week, to record a cause of death.
Coroner Ciaran McLoughlin has raised concerns about a number of aspects of the care given to the dentist, including staff failing to convey medical information to colleagues, delays in observing the patient`s vital signs and failure to correctly read medical notes.
The final draft of an unpublished Health Service Executive (HSE) report into Savita`s death had already found there had been an "overemphasis" on the foetus and an "underemphasis" on Savita`s deteriorating health.
The case has drawn a sharp focus on Ireland`s confusing anti-abortion laws and the Irish government has since committed to legislate to allow abortion if there is a real and substantial risk to a woman`s life by July.