A family from Londonderry has resolved its compensation claim for the death of a daughter due to medical negligence just prior to the claim being assessed for damages at the High Court in Belfast.
Nine-year-old Raychel Ferguson died at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in June 2001 one day after undergoing a routine appendix removal operation at the Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry.
According to an inquest into her death, Raychel died from hyponatraemia due to being administered an intravenous drip which caused an abnormally low level of sodium in her blood to develop and her brain cells to expand.
It was later revealed that that Raychel was one of four children who had died after being treated at the Altnagelvin Hospital where the incorrect administration of intravenous drip was a contributing factor to their deaths.
Only last year did the Western Health and Social Care Trust – the Trust responsible for the management of Altnagelvin Hospital – acknowledge that medical negligence had taken place and issue an apology to Raychel´s family.
Raychel´s parents – Ray and Marie Ferguson – made a compensation claim for the death of a daughter due to medical negligence against the Western Health and Social Care Trust and, with liability for their daughter´s death having been admitted, the claim was scheduled to be heard for the assessment of damages at Belfast High Court.
However, shortly before the hearing was due to get started, the court was told that the family had accepted an out-of-court settlement of their claim for the death of a daughter due to medical negligence amounting to £40,000.
The relatively low settlement for the death of their daughter was explained as being higher than the £11,800 statutory compensation limit. If the Fergusons had pursued their claim for a higher settlement, it may have been the case that the compensation limit could have been imposed. Therefore the offer of medical negligence compensation was accepted by the family on the advice of solicitors.