Tag Archives: Miriam

90306221Praveen Halappanavar with his solicitor Gerard O’Donnell in April)

Praveen Halappanavar spoke with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One this morning in light of his intention to sue the HSE for medical negligence following the death of his pregnant 31-year-old wife Savita last October.

He also spoke about hate mail.

Praveen Halappanavar: “The last few months have been terribly, terribly tough, I’m still coping with the loss.”

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Where were you when received that HSE report?”

Praveen: “Well I was away home, the day before. And I never knew that the HSE report would be published. We just received an email the night before.”

Miriam: “Did you find that stressful, that you were away when it came out?”

Praveen: “Yes, it was very stressful because you know the media were wanting, I was planning spend some peaceful time with the family but unfortunately it wouldn’t, I had to change the plan.”

Miriam: “When you sat down to read the report, what did you make of it?”

Praveen: “Well, as I’ve been saying, right from the beginning, you know, the HSE, you know, investigation panel was set up and the whole thing never had,you know, I mean, it was still HSE and, as expected, so there was nothing really, you know, no truth, coming out of the HSE report.”

Miriam: “And yet it was chaired obviously by an independent professor with vast experience?”

Praveen: “Yes I do, with due respect, I talked to the chairperson and the committee, but I guess, you also need to understand, you know, that it’s more kinda recommendations rather than, you know, getting to the bottom of the truth.”

Miriam: “It was quite damning in its findings though, Praveen. Because, just to quote from it, you know, it said it was ‘inadequate assessment and monitoring to pick up the deterioration of Savita’s condition’, a ‘failure to adhere to hospital guidelines for managing sepsis’ and ‘a failure also to offer her all management options as she experienced inevitable miscarriage’. They also said there was a ‘lack of recognition of the gravity of the risk to her health, that led to delays and aggressive treatments’. So it was pretty damning of the hospital.”

Praveen: “Yes, there was nothing new, compared to the outcome of the inquest. So we were, you know. I guess if they had gone further deep and, you know, to see, and you know, to get to the bottom of the truth, it would be more helpful I suppose.”

Miriam: “You spoke to me before in an interview and said you were positive and optimistic, that you would get to the bottom of the truth. If you feel you haven’t got that with the HSE, are you more confident you might get that with the HIQA inquiry?”

Praveen: “I don’t think so. HIQA looks more into, you know, the facility itself, the hospital and, you know, it’s more like an audit, auditing facility and, you know, the capability of the hospital. But the reason I said you know, that I see bright days or that I’m optimistic is because we are pushing on public inquiry which we still, you know, are seeking.”

Miriam: “As well as acknowledging your own suffering. That HSE report points out that that whole experience was also incredibly stressful for the staff at Galway (University) Hospital and some are still on sick and stress leave. Were you aware of that?”

Praveen: “Yes, I have read it in the newspaper. And I could, you know, see the stress that you know nurses, and basically, witnesses at the coroner’s inquest, you know, I could see it in their eyes and I do understand you know. And I’ve received a number of messages and letters from the staff. It’s…I can understand their feelings, it’s not easy for them as well.”

Miriam: “Because I suppose, to be fair, they point out that, in 16 years, it was there first mortality of a mother, so from their point of view it was devastating maybe for them.”

Praveen: “Yes, I do. I agree. Yes, it is devastating to anybody.”

Miriam: “What would you like to happen now? What would you want to happen now. The inquest, I spoke to you after that, you were quite pleased with the inquest afterwards, weren’t you?”

Praveen: “Yes, I was. That was one of the reasons I was very optimistic and I said to you I can see the bright days ahead. But there’s nothing happened since then basically, you know. We want, as I said, we want to get to the bottom of the truth and the inquest had certain boundaries which we do appreciate and do understand but still someone, you know, has to answer why she died.”

Miriam: “And you feel you haven’t got an answer to that yet?”

Praveen: “Yes, I haven’t got an answer, yeah.”

Miriam: “And what would you say maybe to the HSE report’s finding that it was almost systemic at the end of the day, a systemic failure…no particular individual was at fault.”

Praveen: “Yeah, I mean it’s basically, you know, the report itself was very anonymous and you know it’s, I think it’s a complete whitewash basically. You know, as I said, it’s more an audit report, rather than a, you know, identifying the truth, you know, or the cause of the death.”

Miriam: “And yet, if you look at the guidelines of the report it says they did have to be anonymised, if you look at the small print.”

Praveen: “Yes, yeah.”

Miriam: “Savita’s parents recently spoke to Kitty Holland in the Irish Times and they’re very unhappy with that report, aren’t they?”

Praveen: “Yes. I’ve been talking regularly to them and yeah, it’s, they basically get very regular updates from myself and I’ve been keeping them up to date on the progress and, you know, also on the report. And he (Savita’s father) couldn’t read it, you know? He had a copy of it and he said he can’t read it so he just asked me, you know, a synopsis of the report so I had to tell him that it’s more kinda a recommendation, you know, to the hospital, you know, or the guidelines rather than, you know, determining the cause of death, or the truth basically, so he was very upset with that.”

Miriam: “Are they angry with Ireland, Savita’s parents? Do they regret she ever came here?”

Praveen: “Not really because they were here. They spent a very good time, basically three months. And they had all sweet memories. And I took a copy of the pictures that we took here, all the photos of the scenic Ireland, and they had tears in their eyes when they saw the pictures. Basically they wanted to keep them as a memory.”

Miriam: “They also mentioned in that interview with Kitty that Savita had great faith and prayed every day. Do you find that a help now? Do you pray like Savita?”

Praveen: “Well yes, big time. I mean we both had, you know, very good faith and, you know, religion and almighty, but I’m not able to understand why this happened and that big question mark is still in my mind, you know. Every day I pray and I keep asking why did this happen to us? It’s all the tough time that the whole family has to go through… it’s never been easy and I still keep asking that question and I never lost the trust and the hope.”

Miriam: “Do you sometimes wake up, Praveen, and think has this all been just a terribly bad dream?”

Praveen: “Well, I hardly sleep you know? I do wake up and dream about it. That’s something I’m still working on so…it’s been a very tough journey so far.”

Miriam: “Because this time last year, I think Savita was just pregnant, she’d have been about a fortnight pregnant with all the joy that you were both looking forward to.”

Praveen: “Yes, I mean we had various different plans, you know, like any new couple or young couple. And I still can remember everything that we discussed, you know? So it’s been very hard.”

Miriam: “I thought it was really magnanimous of her parents to pay tribute to that midwife Ann Marie Burke. You’ve done that before with me actually. But they wanted to single her out for praise.”

Praveen: “Yes, basically, they do appreciate anybody talking or speaking the truth so, which has helped them in some way, basically. It gives them some satisfaction that somebody has spoken the truth because we would never, why would we come up with that story that ‘it’s a Catholic thing’. We would never do that. So it was a big relief for the entire family and the whole family do appreciate that particular midwife for being so honest. We do understand it’s very, very difficult for someone to come out and tell the truth. It came out of blue.”

Miriam: “That HSE report also talks about some of the staff in Galway receiving abusive and verbal abuse, abusive letters. Were you aware of that? That they had been receiving these abusive letters?”

Praveen: “Yes I did rec..I did read it in the newspaper and even I have been receiving abusive letters.”

Miriam: “You have?”

Praveen: “Yes, I have been, from different campaigners. And there is one particular campaigner that keeps writing again and again. So, basically, I was told to leave the country and was told to clean the mess that, you know, I have…our country has, rather than cleaning the mess here, you know, to leave with the stuff for them to clean and mind my own business. It’s a hard thing basically, it’s not…”

Miriam: “That’s quite shocking.”

Praveen: “Yes, it is.”

Miriam: “What do you say to people who believe there’s some kind of an agenda at the back of this, to try and introduce abortion on demand and, although they would have sympathy for you, would say ‘oh, this is all a bit of a coincidence’ and they think you’re in fact being used by a pro-abortion lobby.”

Praveen: “All I can say is that, I’ve never been for the abortion thing, you know we’ve never located or participated in any abortion debate, or we don’t follow that. All we are here is to get to the bottom of the truth. And the whole family wants that no woman has to go through the same pain that Savita had to go through and, you know, no family go through the circumstances that we had to face as a family.”

Miriam: “Had you any idea when that incredible tragedy befell you, that it would turn into such a major political turmoil for Ireland? Because even, this week alone, political parties are imploding under the pressure of this new abortion legislation.”

Praveen: “No, we never had any clue that this would happen.”

Miriam: “Do you pay any attention to that legislation that’s going through?”

Praveen: “No.”

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The “better-late-than” never transcript of Michael Lowry’s priceless exchange with Miriam O’Callaghan on Saturday night.

Lowry was on with Tipp casino chief architect Brian O’Connell.

Miriam O’Callaghan: “It must be nice for you, Michael Lowry, to be discussing something other than the Moriarty tribunal, is it?”

Michael Lowry: “It is, absolutely. I have to say, in relation to the Moriarty tribunal, that you’ve raised it, I mean I was very heartened and encouraged with the recent Supreme Court judgment, which stated that, you know, tribunals are the opinion of the presiding chairperson, that they have no basis in law, that they’re sterile legally, and in my situation, it’s, the opinion is not based on fact, it’s not based on evidence. And yes I am delighted to be involved in something worthwhile, something very positive, (etc., etc).”

O’Callaghan: “And you always polled so well in you local area but I suppose the thing, and I’ve often wondered it about people like you because to be honest, you know, how do you deal with, when you get out a report, I suppose like the Moriarty report, you know this yourself, just comparing it to Haughey, it’s about corruption, dishonesty, a cynical and venal abuse of power – I’m just thinking of the words – disgraceful and insidious. Just from your point of view, Michael Lowry, I know you disagreed with his findings, but how do you deal with that, and do you accept any of that criticism?”

Lowry: “Well the first thing to remember: it’s not just I that disagreed with it. The fact is that every public servant that gave evidence said that I did not involve myself in any wrongful way, and that I did not involve myself in the final process. secondly, I would say to you that the report itself, that’s the easy part miriam. the hard part was the prolonged sustained pressure over 14 years. and effectively what the supreme court judgement stated last week that tribunals are a waste of public funds. and this tribunal has been running for that period of time and I’d have to say it’s been extremely difficult for me, it has been difficult for my family. and were it not for the friendship and the loyalty and the support that I have from my people in tipperary, I would not have been able to sustain that kind of pressure and get on with my life.”

O’Callaghan: “… there are many people who feel you DID do wrong. Is there any part of you that accepts you did do wrong?”

Lowry: “The part where I did wrong was I involved myself in commercial enterprise through my business in a way that, you know, I shouldn’t have. and I made amends for that. I had a taxation issue. I dealt with – “

O’Callaghan: “Tax evasion?”

Lowry: “Yeah I dealt, I put up my hands. Well it actually wasn’t, eh, tax evasion. What happened was, through the circumstances which I was engaged in business, eh, a bill fell due to the Revenue. I accepted responsibility for that, I dealt with it. And for the record, Miriam, eh, I had a tax liability of €300,000, and I ended up paying – between tax, penalties and interest – €1.4 million. I accepted my responsibilities in that, I discharged my responsibility and I like anyone else should be allowed to get on with my life and I’ve done that.”

Later

O’Callaghan [to O’Connell]: “Do you think it’s a positive or a negative to have Michael Lowry involved with the project?”

O’Connell: “Ha ha. I, it’s, it’s, it’s not up to me one way or the other. I mean, Michael Lowry has assisted in the process by making, giving access to ah, well, access to the public largely, and has introduced the project and has, we have presented it, ah, locally, and I think from that point of view it has been a very positive, ah, aspect of it.”

Watch show here.