Two health trusts have apologised for the deaths of three children as part of a public inquiry into alleged medical failures.
The revelations came from the hyponatraemia inquiry in Banbridge yesterday. Hyponatraemia is caused by low blood sodium which causes brain swelling.
The inquiry is examining the deaths of three children – Adam Strain, aged four, Raychel Ferguson, nine, Claire Roberts, nine, and events relating to the deaths of Lucy Crawford, aged 17 months, and 15-year-old Conor Mitchell.
Yesterday the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust issued a statement in which it “accepted liability for failures in the care provided to both Adam Strain and Claire Roberts” who died in 1996 and 1995.
The statement added that the trust “fully acknowledges the shortcomings in care and treatment that both children received in the former Royal Hospitals Trust.
“We do not underestimate how difficult this must be for their families and we would like to extend a sincere apology to them.”
Speaking to BBC Northern Ireland after the hearing, Claire Roberts’ parents welcomed the trust’s apology and admission of liability but said there were still many unanswered questions.
Also yesterday, the Southern Health and Social Care Trust accepted that the Guidelines on the Prevention of Hyponatraemia “were not properly implemented” during the time of Conor Mitchell’s treatment.
However, the trust said there is “nothing to indicate that the failure to comply” with the guidelines resulted in Conor’s death. It did accept liability for the failures it did admit.
“The trust apologises to Conor’s family for the failings and shortcomings referred to above and again offers our sincere sympathies to Conor’s family,” the trust said.
The family of Conor Mitchell said they were “extremely pleased that the Southern Trust has finally accepted the failure to provide Conor with the level of care he and they would have expected”.
They added: “Despite the reservation to the admission, the full apology is a welcomed turn of events.
“The fact that they have had to fight for 10 years to receive this remains a matter of regret.
“The family hope that these admissions will signal a new era of openness and transparency for the NHS in dealing with future traumatic events.”
In August the Western Trust admitted liability over the death of nine-year-old Raychel Ferguson.