Fergusons seek ‘the truth unadulterated’ for Raychel
THE family of Londonderry schoolgirl Raychel Ferguson - who died ten years ago after fluid was maladministered following an appendix operation at Altnagelvin - are this week finally having their loved one’s case heard by the Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-related deaths.
The family travelled to Banbridge to hear evidence of how mistreatment of nine-year-old Raychel resulted in her tragic death. Raychel would have turned 21 on Monday.
In his opening statement to the Inquiry on behalf of the Ferguson family Senior Counsel Stephen Quinn said: “The parents feel very strongly, that they were not told the whole truth about Raychel’s death. They feel that Raychel was killed by the hospital.”
Raychel was given the wrong level of fluid required to treat dehydration and died from hyponatraemia - a disturbance caused by a shortage of sodium in the body - in the Royal Victoria Hospital after being treated in Altnagelvin. She died just 14 months after toddler Lucy Crawford died in similar circumstances in Fermanagh.
Mr Quinn said the family are confident that “no stone has been left unturned, no file has been left unopened, no office or warehouse has been left unexplored for various documents that are integral to the workings of this Inquiry and this family are confident that they will see justice done for their daughter.”
Over the course of the next month the Fergusons hope to get to the bottom of a series of questions that have plagued them for over ten years.
For instance, should Raychel have had surgery at all? Why was Raychel not seen by a Consultant or a Senior Doctor? Why were some instances of severe vomiting not reported? Why was a solution inappropriately administered to Raychel when she was constantly vomiting? Why was a blood test not carried out?
Mr Quinn told the Inquiry: “The very sad truth is that had anyone had the sense to order a blood test at any time on June 8, 2001 then Raychel could probably have been saved.”
Although heartbroken over Raychel’s untimely death following her St Patrick’s Primary School sports day over a decade ago the Fergusons take solace from the fact that children’s lives have been saved as a result of the lessons learned since.
Mr Quinn told the Inquiry: “The system undoubtedly failed Raychel and they want a full and frank investigation of how that occurred and who is responsible for that failure.
“They already recognise, as the Chairman of this Inquiry (John O’Hara) stated on day 47 to Dr O’Hare, that the position in Northern Ireland has changed largely because of the death of Raychel Ferguson. This led the Department of Health to establish a working party which came up with new guidelines.
“The parents want me to state that they want to remember how Raychel lived and not how she died but they do take solace in the fact that lives have undoubtedly been saved as a result of Raychel’s untimely, unnecessary and totally avoidable death.”
He said the family want the “full unexpurgated truth about their daughter Raychel’s avoidable death to come out.”
“The truth unadulterated, the complete truth plain and simple, painful for them as it may be,” he said.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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