Glasgow & West Scotland

Milly Main's parents demand fatal accident inquiry

Milly and mother Image copyright Kimberly Darroch
Image caption Milly Main died after contracting an infection at the Royal Hospital for Children

The parents of a child who died after contracting an infection in a troubled Glasgow hospital have called for a fatal accident inquiry.

In a letter to the Lord Advocate, Kimberly Darroch and Neil Main said the circumstances of Milly's death "gives rise to many questions".

The 10-year-old died in August 2017 after treatment for leukaemia at the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC).

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said the family "deserves answers."

Speaking to the Daily Record, Glasgow Labour MSP Anas Sarwar confirmed that Milly's parents instructed Thompsons Solicitors to send the letter, which acts as a referral of the death to the procurator fiscal.

The death was not reported by the health board at the time.

The letter states the family were "denied the basic human dignity" of grieving Milly's death because "they still do not know what really happened or why."

It concludes: "There is clear evidence that the health board did not follow established and necessary protocols and procedures by failing to report Milly's death to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. In short, the family have no trust or faith in anything that they are told by the health board."

Patrick McGuire, partner at Thompsons said: "There's very clear precedent that when somebody dies in hospital, there's an obligation in law for a proper investigation to take place. That hasn't happened.

"In the past there have been circumstances where the only way that can be done is via an FAI, that has to happen here. If there is no FAI at any point in the near future, there's precedent there too.

"We have taken a judicial review against the state for not holding a proper inquiry into deaths that occur because of the NHS. If the Lord Advocate doesn't act, we'll be actively considering that option here too."

Image caption The Royal Hospital for Children is next door to the QEUH

Ms Darroch said the family were calling for an FAI to "uncover the truth".

She said: "It has been incredibly painful for us to relive Milly's death, with bits of information slowly being fed to us thanks only to the work of brave NHS whistleblowers, Anas Sarwar and the media.

"The health board has let us down at every step of the way and kept us in the dark.

"We believe Milly would still be alive today if the managers had listened to all the warnings of infection risk when the QEUH first opened. We have lost all faith in the health board and its leadership."

A Crown spokesman confirmed it had received correspondence on behalf of the family of Milly Main, adding "we will respond in due course".

'Truly sorry'

NHSGGC said the review of cases which is being overseen by Prof Marion Bain, director of infection prevention and control, may consider whether a referral should be made to the Crown Office.

Jane Grant, chief executive of NHSGGC, said: "I am truly sorry for the distress and pain being caused to Milly's family as they continue to grieve for their daughter.

"Milly's family deserves answers. We owe it to them to thoroughly and fully re-examine the investigations that took place in 2017 and again last year.

"We want to do anything we can to answer her questions."

Ms Grant said the health board has written to Ms Darroch and "remain keen" to meet with her.

In response to the potential involvement of the Crown Office, a health board spokeswoman said: "The procurator fiscal sets out clear advice to medical practitioners on the circumstances when a death should be reported and these were followed in this case.

"However we fully appreciate the position and concerns of Milly's family and that is why we have taken the steps to review her case again."

'An utter disgrace'

Milly had a successful stem cell transplant in July 2017 and was making a good recovery when the following month her Hickman line, a catheter used to administer drugs, became infected. Milly went into toxic shock and died days later.

Her death certificate lists a Stenotrophomonas infection of the Hickman line among the possible causes of death but Ms Darroch says the family were kept in the dark about a potential link to contaminated water problems at the hospital.

Mr Sarwar has supported the family from Lanark after a hospital inspection report was leaked to him by whistleblowers.

The QEUH 2015 inspection report ranked infection control measures as "high risk" in several areas just two days after the hospital opened.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) insisted the hospital campus had a "safe and effective water supply" and all inspection reports had been acted upon.

Mr Sarwar said Milly's family had been "drip-fed" information about their daughter's death, branding the treatment "an utter disgrace".

He said: "If this had happened in the private sector there would be a criminal investigation, which is why there now needs to be a fatal accident inquiry. This is the very least the family deserves.

"I hope the Lord Advocate responds positively to this request on behalf of a grieving family."

The Scottish government previously said it was "examining in detail" the separate material Mr Sarwar had highlighted.

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