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Tuesday 18th June 2019

Call for chair of trust to resign

1st March 2012

Families at the centre of a public inquiry into the deaths of children at a Northern Ireland hospital are split over whether the man chairing the investigation is the right man for the job.

Marie Ferguson, whose daughter Raychel died at the Royal Hospital in 2001 having been treated at Altnagelvin hospital, has said John O’Hara QC should resign after further delays in the inquiry – first set up in 2004 - were announced.

She said: “The only people I feel this is suiting at the minute is the trust and the more these delays go on other children could be at risk in hospitals.

“That would be my fear in case any other parent would have to go through what we're going through now at the minute.”

However, the family of another of the children, Adam Strain, have said they retained confidence in the ability of Mr O`Hara to complete the inquiry.

The inquiry is being held into hyponatraemia-related deaths and re-opened on 20 February but has since been adjourned after an expert produced evidence questioning if Adam Strain had died from hyponatraemia.

Mr O’Hara has apologised to the families involved and said he understood how the adjournment would be distressing.

An inquiry spokesperson said: “The inquiry appreciates changes to the schedule are frustrating for the families of the children whose cases it is investigating and for other interested parties.”

But he added that the delay was to enable the inquiry's expert witnesses to have sufficient time to consider the contents of a report by a consultant paediatric neurologist.


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