A mother whose child died while in the care of Altnagelvin Hospital 12 years ago said last night that she was “saddened” it had taken so long for the health trust to admit liability.
Nine-year-old Raychel Ferguson died in June 2001, a day after an appendix operation in the hospital.
The BBC reported yesterday that the Western Health and Social Care Trust had admitted liability for Raychel’s death. The trust said it would comment on Monday.
The admission came at the hyponatraemia inquiry in Banbridge yesterday, which is probing the death of Raychel and four other children by examining the fluid levels administered before their deaths. Hyponatraemia is caused by low sodium in the bloodstream causing the brain cells to swell with too much water.
Speaking after the admission yesterday, Raychel’s mother Marie Ferguson said it was something the family had waited “a very long time” to hear.
“I welcome the Trust’s admission of liability but I’m very saddened it’s taken this length of time for them to do so,” she told the Derry Journal.
She said she believed the admission would not have come now “if it wasn’t for” comments from inquiry chairman John O’Hara.
“I feel the trust was dragged to admit liability for the death of Raychel after the evidence heard over the past few weeks.”
She added: “Today is for Raychel. I promised Raychel when she left home for the last time that I would get justice for her . . . I’ve achieved what I set out to do.”
Speaking to the inquiry in March, Mrs Ferguson told of the day that Raychel’s life support machine was switched off.
She said she sat in “a chair with Ray beside me, the nurse lifted Raychel out on to my knee, my three sons were sitting around crying, I begged Raychel to please wake up. This was our last chance, but this did not happen. The nurse nodded and I nodded back. Then I watched Raychel’s rosy cheeks slowly turn to white and her nails turn blue and it was over. All I can recall then is loud sobbing and crying.”