Child death inquiry resumes

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The mother of tragic Derry girl Raychel Ferguson has welcomed the resumption of a public inquiry into her daughter’s death.

Nine years-old Raychel, Marie Ferguson’s only daughter, died in June 2001 at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after being transferred from Altnagelvin Hospital where she had undergone a routine appendix operation.

The schoolgirl died as a result of the incorrect administration of fluids to counteract dehydration, cerebral oedema caused by hyponatraemia, a condition caused by a shortage of sodium in the body.

A public inquiry into Raychel’s death - and the deaths of three other children - sat on Wednesday for the first time in two years.

Earlier this year Raychel’s mother Marie wrote to the Inquiry chairman John O’Hara QC, to vent her frustrations over the lack of progress.

But speaking after Wednesday’s meeting of the Inquiry, Ms Ferguson said she was pleased with how matters would proceed.

“It’s great now that at last we know it is going ahead. I am a lot more content.

“We are going to have another progress hearing on May 16 and hopefully another one in September and the inquiry will be held in Banbridge Courthouse.

“It has been a long struggle but hopefully now this is it.

“All I really want now is for it to get up and running, and to see the doctors and nurses take the stand and tell me the truth of what happened.”

The inquiry is also investigating the deaths of four-year-old Adam Strain, nine-year-old Claire Roberts and 15-year-old Conor Mitchell.

Fluid management is believed to be a factor in all four deaths.