Medical Negligence News

Londonderry Family to Receive Hyponatraemia Compensation

Posted on: March 21st, 2014 by Medical Negligence

The family of a young girl who died due to medical negligence after undergoing an appendix operation is to receive £40,000 hyponatraemia compensation after an out-of-court settlement was negotiated.

Raychel Ferguson was just nine years of age when in June 2001 she attended the Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry for an appendix operation. Although the operation was successful, Raychel was later administered a dose of intravenous fluid which caused an abnormally low level of sodium in her blood to develop and the cells in her brain to expand. Raychel was transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, but she died from hyponatraemia hours later.

Raychel´s parents – Ray and Marie Ferguson – made a claim for hyponatraemia compensation against the Western Health and Social Care Trust after an investigation revealed that their daughter´s death was one of four at the hospital in which the incorrect administration of intravenous fluid was a contributing factor to the death of a child.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust only admitted liability for Raychel´s death last year and issued an apology to her family. Ray and Marie Ferguson´s claim for hyponatraemia compensation was scheduled to be heard at the High Court in Belfast for the assessment of damages, but shortly before the hearing was due to get underway, an announcement was made that the family had accepted an out-of-court settlement amounting to £40,000.

The relatively low settlement of compensation for the death of a child was explained as being significantly higher than the statutory limit of £11,800. Had the Fergusons continued with their legal action, the judge could have imposed the limit, and therefore the offer of hyponatraemia compensation was accepted after advice from the Ferguson´s solicitors.