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£40k payout over child’s death is an insult – mother

Raychel Ferguson, who died in 2001, is one of those whose death the inquiry has investigated.

Raychel Ferguson, who died in 2001, is one of those whose death the inquiry has investigated.

The parents of a child who died in hospital after undergoing an appendix operation are to receive £40,000 compensation, it was announced yesterday.

Ray and Marie Ferguson reached an out-of-court settlement with the Western Health and Social Care Trust over the death of their daughter Raychel.

The nine-year-old died in June 2001, following her admission to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry. She was administered a lethal dose of intravenous fluid after her appendix was removed.

Her death was investigated as part of the Hyponatraemia Inquiry, a condition which causes the brain cells to swell because of a low level of sodium in the bloodstream.

After her operation, Raychel was transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where she died hours later.

Last year, the Western Trust finally admitted liability and issued an unreserved apology to her family.

A medical negligence claim lodged at the High Court in Belfast was due to decide the level of damages to be awarded to Mr and Mrs Ferguson. But Mr Justice Gillen was instead told that a settlement had been negotiated, with the family to receive £40,000 plus their legal costs.

Outside court, Mrs Ferguson described the compensation as “an insult” but that “through the advice of my legal team I had to go with what they recommend”.

Had the case gone to a hearing, the family may not have got any more than the statutory limit of £11,800.

Mrs Ferguson pledged that her family’s legal battle may continue, with a possible further lawsuit against the Belfast Trust.

 

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