Nurse 'not trained about condition girl died from'

time:2023-06-02 17:05:29source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center4

A nurse who worked at the hospital where a nine-year-old girl was being treated before she died from hyponatraemia has told an inquest she was given no training on the condition.

Raychel Ferguson, from Londonderry, had an appendix operation at Altnagelvin Hospital in the city in June 2001.

She died a day later at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Anne Marie-Noble, who worked at Altnagelvin, gave evidence to the second day of the inquest.

Ms Noble, who has more than 30 years' nursing experience, was the lead nurse on ward six in Altnagelvin at the time Raychel had her operation there.

Hyponatraemia is an abnormally low level of sodium in blood and can occur when fluids are incorrectly administered.

Ms Noble told the inquest on Wednesday that she had heard of the term hyponatraemia, but she was not aware low sodium in the blood could be dangerous.

She also explained that doctors were in charge of prescribing fluids for patients and that nurses only set up the fluids to be administered.

In 2018 the Hyponatraemia Inquiry - which examined the deaths of five children in Northern Ireland hospitals, including Raychel - found her death was avoidable.

The 14-year-long inquiry was heavily critical of the "self-regulating and unmonitored" health service.

In his report in 2018, Mr Justice O'Hara found there was a "reluctance among clinicians to openly acknowledge failings" in Raychel's death.

He said her death was the result of "negligent care".

Counsel to the coroner Michael Chambers told the inquest on Wednesday that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was investigating the findings of the 2018 Hyponatraemia Inquiry.

He said that nothing witnesses told the Hyponatraemia Inquiry could be used as part of a criminal case.

Mr Chambers added that witnesses at the inquest were entitled to be warned if there was a "real or appreciable risk" of incrimination.

Ms Noble said she would not answer some questions on questions on the grounds she could incriminate herself.

The new inquest into her death was first opened in January 2022 after being ordered by the attorney general, but was postponed in October after new evidence came to light.

Raychel's parents, Ray and Marie Ferguson, have long campaigned to find out the truth about their daughter's death.

The inquest continues.

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