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Hyponatraemia Inquest Aims to Uncover Truth About Young Girl’s Death

A new inquest has begun into the death of Raychel Ferguson, a nine-year-old girl who died from Hyponatraemia following an appendix operation at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in June 2001. Her parents have campaigned for years to uncover the truth about their daughter’s death, and her mother sees the inquest as an opportunity to fulfil her promise to find out what happened.

As reported in BBC News NI, the surgeon who performed Raychel’s appendix surgery testified at the inquest stating that his evidence remained the same as the first inquest and what he had told the Hyponatraemia Inquiry.

According to Mr Makar, he was satisfied with the outcome of Raychel’s appendix removal surgery and visited her the next day. He reported seeing her sitting up in bed and talking with her father, which he considered a positive sign.

However, during questioning, Mr Makar acknowledged that he did not physically examine Raychel or review her post-operative notes when he interacted with her.

He said nurses had informed him that another registrar had already examined Raychel and therefore felt that it would not have been appropriate to check up on a colleague. However, it was later revealed that a senior house officer – a medical professional of a less senior position – had examined the nine-year-old. The surgeon did not question why Raychel’s fluids had been changed, and there was no formal handover between senior clinicians.

In 2018 the Hyponatraemia Inquiry – which examined the deaths of five children in Northern Ireland hospitals, including Raychel – found that Raychel’s death was avoidable.

In his report in 2018, Mr Justice O’Hara found that there was a “reluctance among clinicians to openly acknowledge failings” and that her death was the result of “negligent care”.

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

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. The latest inquest is ongoing, and findings will be published once complete.

You can read the full article here: Hyponatraemia Inquiry

What is Hyponatraemia?

Hyponatraemia is an abnormally low level of sodium in the blood and can occur when fluids are incorrectly administered. Mild cases of Hyponatraemia can typically be treated without causing any permanent damage. However, severe, or acute hyponatremia can be extremely dangerous causing potentially life-threatening complications.

Failure to diagnose Hyponatraemia – Medical Negligence Solicitors

Have you or a loved one been seriously injured due to poor medical treatment resulting in Hyponatraemia or as a result of poor surgical, maternity, or medical care? If so, please get in touch so that we can review your potential case.

At Bridge McFarland LLP, our specialist medical negligence solicitors assist people concerning medical negligence claims surrounding failings in care and/or treatment received under the NHS and in the private healthcare sector.

To speak to our team, please call 0800 987 8800 or email