Family of Strabane pensioner who sustained fractures after her death support calls for ‘duty of candour’

Thursday, 22 February 2018

THE family of a Strabane pensioner who sustained more than 30 fractures after her death in hospital are supporting calls for a new law imposing a legal duty on doctors and other health professionals to admit mistakes.

The push for a 'duty of candour' follows the inquiry into the hypnotraemia-related deaths of five children in Northern Ireland's hospitals, which found that four of them were avoidable.

Leading the campaign is the family of schoolgirl, Raychel Ferguson, who died in hospital in 2001.

It has been determined that she died after being administered a lethal dose of intravenous fluid after her appendix was removed following a procedure at Altnagelvin Hospital.

After her operation, Raychel was transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where she died some hours later.

The inquiry, led by John O'Hara, found there were several failings in the care she received before her death.

Mr O'Hara's report also decreed that there was an "obdurate reluctance amongst clinicians to openly acknowledge specific failings" in her care and he described this as "wholly reprehensible".

He also recommended a new statutory duty of candour that would compel health care organisations to be "open and honest" and impose criminal liability on anyone in breach of this duty.

Raychel's parents, Marie and Ray Ferguson, want the new law named 'Raychel's Law' as a fitting tribute in their daughter's memory. They have now launched a petition.


They are being supported by the family of Maureen McGinley who are planning to join forces with the Ferguson's and circulate the petition locally.

Mrs McGinley (78) died of natural causes at Altnagelvin Hospital on January 3, 2007.

Ten weeks after her death the family were informed by Health Trust officials that their mother had sustained 34 rib fractures and a neck injury after her death.

Her family have long campaigned to ascertain how exactly their mother sustained the injuries.

Last year the Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman described the Western Trust's investigation in the case as "wholly inadequate" but as yet, her family have been given no explanation for her injuries.

Speaking to the Strabane Weekly News this week, her son, Marty, said the family had organised a collection in the area, which began on Monday night, to help gather some 20,000 signatures - the number needed to get the new law introduced here.

He said they, along with the Ferguson family, wanted the people of both areas to get behind them to ensure no family is ever left in the same position as they had been.

He added the support to date had been very positive and urged everyone to help them put pressure on the powers that be so the cloak of secrecy that has surrounded their case will not be allowed continue.

Meanwhile, a motion supporting the families in their quest is to be brought before a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council tomorrow (Thursday).

The motion to be tabled by Sinn Fein's Patricia Logue, states: "This council sends our condolences and solidarity to the families of Raychel Ferguson, Conor Mitchell, Claire Roberts, Adam Strain and Lucy Crawford following the publication of the report of the inquiry into hyponatraemia-related deaths; this council states that we fully and wholeheartedly support Raychel's Law - the demand for Statutory Duty of Candour in honour of those children who have died as a result of hyponatraemia: and we instruct council to write to the Department of Health and urge it to begin proceedings that will introduce a Statutory Duty of Candour."


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete