Raychel’s Ferguson’s mum calls for probe into ‘farce’ over statements

Derry Journal reporter Ian Cullen interviewing Marie Ferguson yesterday.  (DER3613JB060)
Derry Journal reporter Ian Cullen interviewing Marie Ferguson yesterday. (DER3613JB060)

Mother ‘unhappy’ following Western Health Trust’s admission of liability for the death of the nine-year old after surgery in Altnagelvin hospital in 2001

The Western’s Trust’s admission of liability for the death Raychel Ferguson is “not enough”, the schoolgirl’s mother has said.

Marie Ferguson said she was both joyful and angry when the health authority admitted responsibility last Friday at the inquiry investigating the death of Raychel - almost 13 years after the nine year-old’s death.

Now the family wants the police to investigate statements made by medical professionals and trust staff on the circumstances surrounding the death of Raychel over the past 12 years.

“The police should look again at the statements given by doctors, nurses and administration staff to the inquiry, the coroner and the police after Raychel died. We believe the course of justice has been perverted. It’s a farce,” she said.

Raychel Ferguson died following a routine operation to have her appendix removed because she was overloaded with fluids at Altnagelvin Hospital, a inquiry into hyponatraemia-related deaths has heard.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, the Derry schoolgirl’s mum said she had long accepted that Raychel’s death had been a “mistake” on the part of hospital but what happened in the aftermath was calculated.

“What was done by the hospital and the trust afterwards was a deliberate attempt at damage limitation.

“Reports were not given to the coroner while one story was told to police investigating the death and another was told to the coroner in statements.

“Why is it only now is the trust is admitting liability. There is nothing new in the case. What happened, happened then and it must have been clear then. There was a critical incident review going behind closed doors on as we were waking Raychel. We knew nothing of that.

“The fact is that we sat in hospital all day following the appendix operation the night before and watched Raychel dying in front of us. We repeatedly told staff that something was badly wrong but no one would take on a word that we were saying.”

“After having time to reflect on the trust’s admission, we’re totally unhappy.

“The people directly involved with Raychel as she was dying have not stood up and admitted they have done anything wrong. The doctors and nurses are still denying that they were at fault.

“After the joy of Friday, we went back to the inquiry this week to hear doctors telling the court they didn’t do anything wrong.

“How did the trust come to the conclusion that it was liable for Raychel’s death, if the staff do not? If responsibility is not accepted by those working there then lessons have not been learned. We’re worried that what happened to Raychel will happen again.”

Ms Ferguson said her family was indebted to the work done by their solicitor over the years. “Our solicitor Des Doherty has supported us and stood by us, without him we wouldn’t have got this far.”