Northern Ireland

Inquiry into five child deaths resumes

Conor Mitchell was 15 when he died
Image caption Conor Mitchell was 15 when he died

The inquiry into the deaths of five children in Northern Ireland while being treated in hospital is under way again in Banbridge.

Established in 2004, the inquiry into hyponatraemia-related deaths has been postponed on several occasions.

In February it was adjourned when an expert witness raised doubts whether one of the children died from hyponatraemia.

The children died between 1995 and 2003.

The inquiry into the deaths was primarily set up to investigate the deaths of Adam Strain, Claire Roberts and Raychel Ferguson.

The remit of the inquiry was later broadened to investigate events following the death of Lucy Crawford and also issues arising from the treatment of Conor Mitchell.

The common link was hyponatraemia, a condition which results in a low levels of sodium in the blood stream causing the brain cells to swell with too much water.

In some cases this can result in death.

In February the expert questioned whether Adam Strain had died of hyponatraemia.

The BBC understands that debate still continues and may not be resolved until cross examining is finished.

The inquiry's remit includes an investigation into record-keeping and to what extent critical guidelines were shared between professionals.

Over the next two days it will focus on Adam Strain who died 18 years ago.

The inquiry was first suspended in 2005 to allow the PSNI to undertake investigations related to the three cases which it was initially examining.

In 2008, the police indicated that their investigations were complete and the Public Prosecution Service directed that there would be no prosecutions.

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