Londonderry baby death: Mother has to pay towards daughter's inquest

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Media captionSophie's mother, Leanne Maguire, said that the inquest could have been prevented had a post-mortem examination taken place

A Derry mother has said she is being asked to pay up to £8,000 to cover her family's costs at an inquest into her baby daughter's death.

Leanne Maguire's daughter Sophie died in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London two years ago.

The family said they have been told they do not qualify for legal aid because their daughter died in London.

A spokesperson for the hospital did not want to comment while an investigation is taking place.

The findings of the chief coroner for England and Wales are due to be presented at an inquest in July.

Sophie Maguire was transferred from Derry's Altnagelvin Hospital to England after her birth but died days after surgery in April 2013.

She suffered from a rare health condition called VGM, or vein of Galen malformation, which affects blood flow to the brain.

Sophie underwent a brain operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital but there were complications after the surgery and she failed to recover.

The family received a letter from the chief coroner of England and Wales in September last year, informing them that an investigation into Sophie's death had been ordered.

"Stressful"

Leanne Maguire told BBC Radio Foyle that the legal, transport and accommodation costs of the inquest will fall upon the family.

"It's out of our Jurisdiction so everything has to be paid by us. Apparently we were supposed to be part of the UK, but when it comes down to stuff like this we don't qualify.

"It's awful, it's really stressful on the family because we're worried from one day to the next as to where we are going to get this money because we need our answers."

She added: " If it happened here in Derry or we had to go to Belfast then legal aid would have covered everything for us, but because it's across the water, over in London, then we have to pay for absolutely everything."

Image copyright Leanne Maguire: permission given to use
Image caption Sophie Maguire died after surgery in Great Ormond Street in April 2013

Ms Maguire said that the inquest could have been prevented had a post-mortem examination taken place.

"It could cost up to nearly £8,000 and that's just a rough estimate.

"It will be money well spent so that we could actually grieve and even tell Katie how her baby sister actually died," she added.

A spokesperson for Great Ormond Street said: "Providing the best patient care in a safe environment is the trust's number one priority and we take all concerns around the care we provide extremely seriously.

"However, at this time, whilst we understand an investigation is taking place, we do not feel it appropriate to comment on this patient's care."

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