The mother of Raychel Ferguson has said the Western Trust was “dragged” to admit liability for the nine year-old’s death.
Marie Ferguson, who has brought a High Court action against the trust over Raychel’s death in 2001 following an operation to remove her appendix at Altnagelvin hospital, said the evidence had always “spoken for itself”.
In statement to an inquiry investigating the death of Raychel the trust apologised “unreservedly” to her family. Michael Stitt, QC, acting for the Trust under instruction from the Health and Social Care Board’s Directorate of Legal Services, read a statement admitting liability to the Hyponatraemia Inquiry at Banbridge court house on Friday morning. Mr Stitt said: “The trust, having taken into account the evidence heard during this inquiry including independent expert evidence and the interim comments of the Chairman, formally admits liability. The trust apologises unreservedly for Raychel’s death and regrets any further hurt and distress that the delay in admitting liability has caused the family.”
Chair Mr Justice John O’Hara earlier this week said it was “almost unbelievable” that the trust stated it would not make a decision on liability until hearing the outcome of the inquiry. Speaking after the admission, 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 said she believed the admission would not have come “if it wasn’t for” Mr O’Hara’s comments this week. “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.”